After one of the biggest transfer sagas in football history, Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona.
It was a crazy week or so after the six-time Ballon d’Or winner told Barca that he wanted to leave by burofax.
Reports suggested he had agreed terms to sign for Manchester City, while there were supporter protests against club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Barca were crumbling.
But then, after the club insisted he wasn’t free to leave the club, Messi decided to stay - albeit reluctantly.
"I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not," Messi told Goal.
"Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.
"And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million (£624m) clause, and that this is impossible."
What will Messi be like during the 2020/21 season? Will he sulk and wish he had left the Camp Nou?
Footage of him after the club had won the Joan Gamper Trophy suggested he’s not entirely happy to be staying.
However, it seems he’s accepted it because, according to Spanish outlet Sport, he’s identified FOUR records he wants to break at Barcelona.
The most appearances at Barcelona
Xavi currently holds that record with 767, while Messi has played 731 times. That means he needs to play 47 matches to break Xavi’s tally. He only managed 44 games last season but was injured for parts of the campaign. He’ll have to stay injury-free to break it in 2020/21.
Goals for one club
The current record holder is Pele, who scored 643 times for Santos. Messi has 634 for Barcelona so only needs 10 more this season. He’ll surely manage that.
Seasons at Barcelona
Both Carles Rexach and Xavi managed 17 seasons at Barcelona, while Messi has currently completed 16. If he stays for the whole campaign, he’ll equal those two.
Trophies at one club
Ryan Giggs won a quite ridiculous 36 trophies at Manchester United. Messi currently has 34 at Barca, so needs to win some sort of treble to beat Giggs. Considering Barca went trophyless last season, that seems unlikely.
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