While Barcelona are doing everything in their power to keep Lionel Messi at Camp Nou, the legendary Argentine forward remains determined to leave Camp Nou.
Reports from Argentina claim it’s possible that Messi could be forced to spend the 2020-21 season at Barça.
But Messi’s father, Jorge, is in Barcelona this week as they attempt to reach an agreement over the player’s exit.
Manchester City remain in pole position to secure Messi’s signature and may need to cough up a fee in the region of €100 million to sign the 33-year-old.
This was the same fee Juventus paid Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2018.
The main reason Messi wants to leave Barça is that he doesn’t believe in the current sporting project - if, indeed, one exists - at Camp Nou under Josep Maria Bartomeu.
At 33, the South American is acutely aware that his time at the highest level is running out.
He hasn’t lifted the Champions League trophy since 2015 and believes his best chance of winning it again is to reunite with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.
Spanish newspaper Marca, meanwhile, have published a list of the 16 signings ‘which have pushed Messi out of Barcelona’.
Let’s take a closer look…
Aleix Vidal: 2015 - €10 million
Arda Turan: 2015 - €40 million
Samuel Umtiti: 2016 - €25 million
Andre Gomes: 2016 - €37 million
Nelson Semedo: 2016 - €30 million
Lucas Digne: 2016 - €17 million
Paco Alcacer: 2016 - €30 million
Paulinho: 2017 - €40 million
Philippe Coutinho: 2017 - €145 million
Ousmane Dembele: 2017 - €138 million
Yerry Mina: 2018 - €11 million
Malcom: 2018 - €41 million
Arturo Vidal: 2018 - €20 million
Clement Lenglet: 2018 - €36 million
Junior Firpo: 2019 - €18 million
Antoine Griezmann: 2019 - €120 million
That’s an eye-watering total of €758 million spent on players who, for the most part, have flattered to deceive.
Messi has undoubtedly papered over many cracks over the past five years, but even the great man was powerless to prevent Barça’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
For Messi, that performance and result was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
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