After Lionel Messi slams his own team for being “weak” we look back at Pete Sharland’s article on how Barcelona wasted the talents of a genius.
The phrase Messidependencia is fairly self-explanatory. It is the term used to describe Lionel Messi’s importance to Barcelona.
It has been around for most of the last decade and initially began as a pop at Barcelona as they adjusted to life post-Pep Guardiola but it has evolved even further over the past couple of years.
Now more than ever Messidependencia is just another way of saying Barcelona have wasted a superhuman genius.
Let’s make this very clear first, because sadly it is probably going to have be said at some stage. Messi is an exceptional footballer, in this author’s opinion the best to ever play the game. That is not to diminish players like Diego Maradona or Cristiano Ronaldo, nor the people who believe they are the greatest player ever.
With that established let’s get on with looking at Messi at Barcelona. There are six Ballon d’Ors (more than anyone else ever), over 700 senior goals for club and country and 34 trophies for Barcelona.
A pretty impressive resume and it can certainly be argued that the schooling Messi received at La Masia as well as the influence of Ronaldinho and Pep Guardiola amongst others has allowed him to become the very best version of himself. That best version is in this writer’s opinion the perfect combination of the genius of Maradona and the relentless production of Ronaldo.
Now, Messi is 33. As much as we would like to believe he won’t leave us at some stage he will lose his battle with Father Time. And he will do so having not achieved all he could have done.
Without wishing to sound as if all blame lies with the Barcelona board, particularly given the issues explored in this article, it’s hard to look at it another way. The board are ultimately responsible for the signings and team structure. Messi probably has more say than your average player in transfers but still these are decisions made by the board. As we concluded in the aforementioned article the only light at the end of the tunnel for fans is the 2021 elections, where a return of Joan Laporta or maybe even Victor Font may give a new lease of life to both Messi and the playing squad as a whole.
What now for Messi after Barca humiliation?
The worry now is will Messi even be there? His future is reportedly in doubt as he won’t consider his options past 2021 and he is now speaking out in public against his side. Since the catastrophic end to the season with the 8-2 humilation against Bayern Munich both manager Quique Setien and sporting director Eric Abidal have been fired. Now the extremely reliable reporter Marcelo Bechler, the man who broke the story of Neymar moving to PSG, is saying that Messi wants to leave this summer.
What once seemed impossible, almost laughable, now could become reality and if it does, could you really blame Messi? The relationship between he and the club is clearly not one of respect if they continue to operate in the manner they have up until this point. Why would he continue to bail out this board who he doesn’t share a good relationship with?
It might be just what he needs as well. Messi’s body-language on the pitch has been widely dissected, and rightly so, but perhaps it’s partly a visual manifestation of carrying the load for so long? A different team might be able to give him more breathing room and the perfect platform to rejuvenate himself ahead of the back end of his career.
But what team? That is the multi-million dollar question. Realistically you can only see three teams being able to afford the Argentine: Manchester City, PSG and Inter Milan. Each provide different pros and cons. City is a reunion with Pep Guardiola, PSG a chance to play with one or both of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe whilst Inter would renew his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo. Even for these ultra rich clubs, pulling off the Messi signing would be the biggest undertaking in football, one that is almost destined to fail.
But these reports from Messi are perhaps as clear a sign as any that his future will depend on the result of the elections in March next year. He really isn’t prepared to tolerate anything less than excellence from those around him and that extends to the decision-makers. This might well be the most important vote in the club’s history…