In the wake of the fall out between Lionel Messi and Eric Abidal, Barcelona’s fan base have become incredibly concerned.
The thought that their captain could leave at the end of the season is something that is all consuming for anyone of the blaugrana persuasion.
But is it really likely that the No.10 will decide enough is enough?The main cause of concern is that Messi’s current contract runs out at the end of the current campaign.
Without a new one having been signed, he could, theoretically, leave for free in the summer.
To that end, it does seem extraordinarily odd that a new deal, probably his final one for the club he’s served with aplomb over the last 16 years, has yet to be agreed.
There will be clubs where money is no object, such as Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, and they would be willing to acquire his services. Whatever the cost in salary, there’s more than enough in the pot to cover any vast outlay.
What’s more, the amount of revenue that signing Messi would make for any potential new employer would likely be enough to pay his salary in any event.
But there’s one element in this argument that everyone seems to have overlooked. Messi’s wishes.
He has said time and again how happy he is living in Barcelona, how well settled his family are, how his children all have friends in the locale.
The debt he believes that he owes the club, from when they took him under their wing and paid for his growth hormone treatment, is another reason why it would be monumentally surprising to see the Argentine in another team’s kit.
It’s worth looking back a couple of years too, back to when Messi had a tax evasion accusation hanging over his head.
Going to court to prove his innocence was an unsavoury experience, and if he was going to leave Catalonia, that would’ve been the point that he’d have made any move away.
That he stuck it out shows he’s made of sterner stuff, and when all is said and done, arguments with the board – even if one of them is (or was) your friend – is par for the course.
Only because it’s Messi sticking his head above the parapet has it become headline news.
Until the contract is definitively signed, there’s always a nagging doubt as to the player’s intentions, but there’s so much more for him to achieve at Barca.