Lionel Messi looks set to depart Barcelona this summer, bringing to an end one of the most profitable and trophy-laden unifications in the footballing world.
The Argentine superstar has been an inspirational figure at the Camp Nou for the past 16 years, representing the Blaugrana with immense quality or humility. Not only is Messi a brilliant footballer but also a Barca great and that looks set to remain even if he does leave.
Goals, goals, goals
His goal record indeed speaks for itself having plundered a frankly astounding 634 goals in 731 games. Throughout that time, Messi has become one of the best players to ever take to a football pitch and that can be vouched for with the six Ballon d’Ors that he has won – no player having won more.
The sheer fact that he sits top of Barcelona’s goalscoring list – and no less than 402 goals clear of the iconic Cesar Rodriguez – highlights the other-worldy powers that Messi possesses when he pulls on the Barcelona shirt.
Change for Messi?
However, he may not be doing that anymore. Having finished the 2019/20 season trophyless and suffered an embarrassing defeat 8-2 defeat to Champions League winners Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the competition, Messi apparently wants to leave the Nou Camp and his future appears to be getting, for want of a better word, messy.
The forward has apparently pointed to a clause in his contract that would have allowed him to depart on a free contract and would see him become one of the most lucrative free agents in world football. There have been rumours swirling ever since, with Manchester City apparently the most likely to make a move for him and sitting at odds of ¾ with 888Sport to be his employers after the summer transfer window.
Even the Spanish league have waded into the argument, stating that despite the aforementioned clause in his contract, the Argentine’s release clause of approximately €700m was to be paid in full. It indicates how much of a pivotal player that Messi has been in both Barcelona and La Liga history that the governing body of football within the country have tried to resolve the situation.
Period of glory
From a Barcelona perspective, his loss would be cataclysmic. Not only has Messi plundered goals aplenty, he has also contributed to the sheer fabric of Barcelona.
In just his time there alone, the club have won four UEFA Champions Leagues, 10 La Liga crowns, six Copas del Rey, eight Spanish Supercopas, three UEFA Super Cups and three FIFA Club World Cups. For one club, that would be a quite remarkable trophy haul – none least the personal collection of one player. For context, that means that of those trophies, Messi has helped lift just over 41% of those within the club’s history, highlighting the inspirational player that he is.
Has this happened before?
Whilst it is simply impossible to compare Messi’s situation to anybody else in Barcelona history considering all he has won and what he has contributed to the club, supporters only need to look in the past to denote that his status at the club will not be altered regardless of the manner in which he leaves – even some of the most iconic players in Barca history.
Even the great Diego Maradona got in frequent disputes with the club’s hierarchy but his place in the club’s history is sure. The same could also be said for the likes of Brazilian duo Ronaldinho and Neymar.
However the dispute between Messi and Barcelona turns out in the near future, the sheer contribution he has had, topping any other club great, indicates that his Barca legacy will not be diminished.