It’s official, one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game is officially out of contract. The Argentinian maestro has run down his contract at Barcelona and has yet to sign an extension. So let the madness commence.
Over the next few weeks chaos will undoubtedly ensue as teams look to gain the signature of the 34-year-old, so much so that you can probably put together a bingo card and mark the events off as they happen, such is the predictability of how it will play out.
It will likely follow a similar sequence of events as last summer, when Messi looked poised to leave the club, but will he actually leave? And where may he go?
We’re hedging our bets on this one and are sticking with a contract extension at the club he’s been at his entire career. Messi stayed on for a year last term, and despite being out of contract, he could be tempted to stay, particularly given some of the signings the club have made already this summer. Ronald Koeman is keen to regain the La Liga title after a disappointing season, and he’ll certainly need Lionel Messi to do it.
The stars looked aligned for City to sign Messi last summer, and they’ll be the club in the box seat this summer too. Messi would likely welcome a reunion with his former manager Pep Guardiola, and the Premier League champions also have the money to burn on his astronomical wages. Question is, do they want him or need him?
They certainly need a man up top, but having let Sergio Aguero go to Barcelona, are they in the market for an ageing player? Harry Kane looks to be at the top of Guardiola’s wishlist, which may put a spanner in the works for Messi.
Paris Saint Germain also have the money and a threesome of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Messi is rather frightening. PSG will undoubtedly be trying to make this happen and a link-up with Neymar, who Messi was sad to see sold, could prove tempting.
Cristiano Ronaldo also is on the shortlist for PSG. Messi and Ronaldo in the same team? That’s enough to send social media into meltdown. It will likely be one or the other, and alongside Manchester City they’re just about the only other club who can afford him at this stage in his career.