Lionel Messi’s time at Barcelona wasn’t supposed to end like this.
The legendary forward, who is considered by many as the greatest footballer of all time, has given so much to Barça - and they’ve given so much to him.
Everyone thought Messi would spend his entire career at Camp Nou and end his playing days as a one-club man like AC Milan hero Paolo Maldini, Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs or, indeed, his former teammate Carles Puyol.
But fairytales rarely happen in real life and, sadly, it seems Messi and Barcelona’s relationship is about to end in an acrimonious divorce.
Messi no longer believes in the sporting project at Barça under the club’s current president Josep Maria Bartomeu and wants to join Manchester City.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner believes he’s now a free agent after activating a special clause in his contract.
Barça, backed by La Liga, dispute this. They want a hefty transfer fee for the 33-year-old.
The situation is threatening to turn ugly and there’s a chance that it could result in a court battle.
In any case, it seems that Messi’s final match for Barcelona was that dismal 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Will the Catalan giants even pay tribute to their greatest ever player?
There’s previously been talk that Barcelona might retire Messi’s No. 10 shirt, build a statue of him, or even name Camp Nou after him.
But the manner of Messi’s impending departure means there’s every chance that the relationship between the club and player will never be the same again.
Most Barça fans are deeply saddened by the situation. They don’t even blame Messi for wanting to leave, they blame the board for allowing the club to crumble.
And supporters are sharing an emotional video on social media which shows what Messi’s departure from Barcelona was supposed to be like.
We see old footage of Barcelona fans chanting Messi’s name, holding up huge banners at a packed Camp Nou saluting him, his teammate throwing him into the air, the South American parading his Ballon d’Or trophies alongside his children, and tributes from other Barça players.
Watch the video here…
Even if you’re not a Barça fan, it’s hard not to feel a little moved by the footage.
This really is how Messi’s unforgettable Barcelona career should have ended.
Instead, he won’t get any of this, as things stand.
And the next time we see the GOAT in public, he could well be holding a Man City shirt.
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