Should Barcelona cash-in on Lionel Messi?

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Back in June, Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff controversially suggested that the Catalan giants should consider selling Lionel Messi after deciding to purchase Neymar for almost £50m.

The Dutchman, who excelled both as a player and coach, admitted he would not have signed Neymar - unless he was planning for the departure of four-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi.

Six months down the line and the decision to sign Neymar appears to be working out for Barcelona - but, on the flip side, there have been murmurs for the very first time that Messi is feeling a little unsettled at the Camp Nou.

Now, this isn't directly linked with the arrival of Neymar. Far from it, in fact. The two superstars get on well both on and off the pitch, despite the fact one's from Argentina and the other Brazil.

Recent reports suggest that Messi feels betrayed by Barcelona after a contract renewal agreement was rejected, while the Argentina international has also struggled with injuries since the departure of his favoured coach - his mentor Pep Guardiola who, of course, now manages the reigning European champions Bayern Munich.

Messi's ongoing hamstring problems must be a serious concern for Barcelona. Many players' careers have been blighted by similar injuries, and there's a chance that Messi may struggle to hit the phenomenal heights he has over recent seasons unless he makes a full recovery.

This isn't the first time that Messi has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, which indicates that there is a genuine problem there which needs resolving - if possible.

But should Barcelona make this another club's concern? Should they take Cruyff's advice and opt to sell Messi, potentially at the end of the season?

After all, they would receive a world-record fee for his services. The £85m Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale would look like small change next to the €250m a club like Manchester City could be tempted to pay in order to activate Messi's release clause.

Barcelona, as well as being able to reinvest in their squad, would also save a fortune on wages. Messi is one of the world's highest paid sport stars - deservedly so - but could probably earn even more elsewhere.

Of course, an in-form, fully fit and hungry Messi is an indispensable player. But perhaps a little part of the South American would like a new challenge.

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta recently revealed that Messi is inquisitive when it comes to the Premier League - and after winning the lot at Barcelona, who could blame him for wanting to test himself elsewhere?

Barca will never be able to get more money for Messi. They have managed to get ten fantastic years out of him and been immensely successful in the process.

But all good things come to an end eventually.

Should Barcelona stick or twist next summer?

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Lionel Messi
La Liga

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