Messi decision unlikely until summer; open to Barcelona, Man City, MLS
Lionel Messi has revealed that he is in no rush to decide his future as he approaches the final six months of his contract at Barcelona, despite the fact he could sign for any club in the world (outside of Spain) in just four days.
In an extraordinary interview first aired in Spain on Sunday, Messi opened up about the past, present and future of his ongoing transfer/contract saga at Barcelona — from his initial desire to leave the club long before formally submitting a transfer request this past summer, to letting Luis Suarez leave for free to La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid, to Ronald Koeman’s progress as Barcelona boss, to the nature of his relationship with Pep Guardiola, to his long-held (but never publicized) desire to one day play in MLS.
Below is a selection of the most interesting and/or shocking revelations, straight from the Argentine wizard, Lionel Messi, himself…
Leo Messi to La Sexta: “I’m not negotiating as a free agent with any club. As I said, I have nothing clear until the end of the season. Let's see how we do this season and what happens. Neymar? Bringing Neymar back to Barça would be so expensive...”. 🔴🇦🇷 @delbarriotv— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 27, 2020
Leo Messi to La Sexta: “I’m not gonna join Real Madrid or Atlético Madrid. It’s absolutely impossible. I don’t know if I’ll leave Barça, I’ll talk about it at the end of the season. I hope to be part of Barcelona as club also when I’ll retire”. 🔴🇦🇷— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 27, 2020
Messi: “Koeman is doing a good job. It is difficult because there are a lot of young players, but little by little we are growing."— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) December 27, 2020
“I just wanted to get away. The president didn’t let me and he tried to hurt me by leaking things about me. He tried to make me look like the bad guy in the movie.”— total Barça (@totalBarca) December 27, 2020
Messi asked directly about Bartomeu "I'd rather not talk too much about it, but he mislead me in many things, over many years."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) December 27, 2020
While Messi has previously casually flirted with the idea of one day coming to MLS — in a “sure, it could happen, why not?” kind of way — his admission that “it has always been one of [his] dreams” is certainly noteworthy, even if it’s nothing more than a negotiating tactic ahead of his impending free agency.
As for the links to Manchester City and Guardiola, it’s not at all surprising that he still sees his former manager as “the best” in the world. The transfer rumors linking Messi to Manchester City will, of course, persist as they are one of only a handful of clubs in the world that could afford to sign him.
After all of the above comments about possible destinations and the drama which has played out over the course of many years — in Messi’s version of events, at least — it still sounds like he prefers to remain at Barcelona — a better functioning version of the club, of course — beyond this summer. His love for Barcelona is clear as day, and perhaps he feels that threatening to walk away is the only way to affect real change for an institution which is resistant to doing so.