Will PSG defeat spell the end for Messi at Barca?

Tuesday night saw one of the most one-sided Champions League games since, well, Barcelona lost 8-2 against Bayern Munich in last season’s competition.

Against Paris Saint-Germain in the first-leg of the Round of 16 in the 2020/21 edition, the French side could’ve quite easily scored eight themselves, and would’ve done so had Marc-Andre ter Stegen not been at his best.

Neymar, injured for this potential return to Camp Nou, and likely for the second leg in a few weeks time, will rue not having the opportunity of some easy pickings against his old side.A side that look nothing like the outfit he left in 2017.

In fact, his move to Paris could well be seen as the catalyst for the downfall of the blaugranes, who have slowly but surely died a death.

The €222m that the club earned for selling the Brazilian – surely a transfer fee that will remain as the most expensive in history – could be said to have been wasted on players such Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann.

Both French World Cup winners have done nothing of note in the time in which they’ve been at the club, and certainly haven’t come close to justifying their salaries or transfer fees.

Only recently too have the club begun to lean on their La Masia academy again to any great degree, but at least the green shoots of recovery there can be seen with the likes of Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza, Ilaix Moriba and others being brought through.

The future may be bright, but the present needs addressing in double-quick time.

Former president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has left the club in an horrendous state, both on and off the pitch, and if the new president, elected on March 7, is worth his salt, the first thing he will do is look to progress criminal proceedings against the one man who has virtually left the Catalans bankrupt.

A new Camp Nou was meant to be completed under his watch of course, but it hasn’t even been started.

It’s one of a multitude of issues that face the new hierarchy and surely what will be top of the list is Lionel Messi’s immediate future.

Although it’s always been made clear that money isn’t the driver for him, it’s clear that he will still demand a King’s ransom to stay, but will, apparently, only do so if the team is competitive.

They’re about as far away from that as it’s possible to be at this point in time.

The PSG defeat merely underscored just how far away they are from Europe’s elite, and with only a few years left at the very top, you couldn’t blame Messi if he thought that now the time was right for a new adventure.

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