Will he stay or will he go? Lionel Messi’s future up in air as Barcelona contract ends
1 July, 2021, 4:38 pm
Lionel Messi’s contract with Barcelona came to an end on Wednesday (Thursday NZT) with no news from the player or the club about his future.
The expectation is that the 34-year-old Messi, who is playing with Argentina at the Copa America, will stay at the Catalan club. He reportedly had been close to reaching a deal to extend his contract for two more years.
Messi’s future has been a mystery since he had his request to leave the club denied at the end of the 2019-20 season. He ended up staying and said he would reconsider his options when this season was over.
A lot has changed since he announced he wanted to leave the club. That decision was made not long after the team’s embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, one of the worst defeats in the club’s and Messi’s history.
But since then, Barcelona has a new coach in Ronald Koeman and a new president after the resignation of Josep Bartomeu, who was at odds with Messi.
In came Joan Laporta, who won the club’s presidential election in part because of his good relationship with the Argentina star. He was the president when Messi’s career started.
Laporta said recently he was optimistic that Messi would renew his contract. When asked about Messi’s future on Wednesday, he briefly said “don’t worry.”
Messi excelled again this season despite staying against his wishes. He led the Spanish league in scoring with 30 goals and helped the team win the Copa del Rey title.