On Friday, Lionel Messi, 33, was back on the front pages of Barcelona’s sports newspapers after an absence of several days, as a marginal figure, not as a protagonist. Together with the deputy Barça captains like Sergi Busquets or Gerard Piqué, he posed on the lawn with Luis Suárez, his friend and previous neighbor in the coastal suburb of Castelldefels, and the thirteen trophies that the Urguayer, who said goodbye in tears on Thursday, had won in six years of the Camp Nou.
By noon on Friday, there could be no doubt that Messi would hijack Saturday’s front pages. Because 21 days after his announcement that he was reluctant to stay in Barcelona, Messi slipped into an avenger costume – and posted a post of 790 characters on a social network to say goodbye to Suárez, which the club again on Sunday against Villarreal before the delayed start of the season shake to the foundations. At the same time, they are probably only harbingers of a foreseeable turbulent season.
He had already got used to the idea that Suárez would leave, wrote Messi, “but it wasn’t until I got into the dressing room today that the penny really fell”. It will be difficult not to share everyday life with Luis Suárez, both on the pitch and in private, wrote Messi, “it was many years together, many matetees, lunches and dinners”. It is at least as painful to see Suárez in the Atlético Madrid jersey in the future, the center forward tried it on for the first time on Friday.
“We are at a point where nothing has surprised me for a long time”
Above all, however, Messi let his anger run wild at the Uruguayan’s departure. The subtext resembled the mood at a saloon shootout in the Wild West: “You deserve me to say goodbye to you for who you are: one of the most important players in the history of the club – and not for them to throw you out. But honestly said: We’re at a point where nothing has surprised me for a long time, “said Messi. He could have garnished that with regards to the club president Josep Maria Bartomeu. But that would probably have fulfilled the facts of the tautology. It was clear enough who he meant.
A few hours later, Suaréz posted his answer: “Thank you, amigo”, and then a prompt: “Keep showing that you are not number one for nothing.” Nobody should “cast a shadow on the fact that you are a giant”. Even if it had recently become quiet about Messi: It was to be expected that he would rebel against the destruction of his domestic ecosystem. His best cabin colleagues, Suárez and Chilean Arturo Vidal, were compensated and given away to Inter Milan and Atlético respectively. All that remains is Jordi Alba. With net earnings of allegedly more than twelve million annually until 2024, severance negotiations with him were out of the question. But whether he is Messi support enough? Now that that will be the focus of interest for months?
In the short term, that’s because everyone is excited to see how Messi’s falling out with the club’s management will affect his performance. Does he play well or badly?
The Messi case is exciting in the medium and long term because his contract expires in summer 2021 and he has not yet explained what he intends to do then. The fact is: From January he can freely negotiate a transfer free of charge and thus torment the club that has just rationalized his friends away. The greatest possible torture for Barça would be to let rumors waft – or even to fire – rumors about the interest of Barça’s arch-rivals Real Madrid in Messi. Beyond that, Messi is likely to tip the scales in the presidential election. They are currently scheduled for March, but the club opposition’s vote of no confidence against Bartomeu has received great support. The examination of the more than 20,000 signatures that have been collected has not yet been completed; but if more than 16,500 are valid, as can be assumed, a referendum would have to be called among the members. A two-thirds majority would lead to a change of government at Barça.