On Tuesday noon, the world in Barcelona was still in the minimum order that the 2: 8 against Bayern Munich had left. The club announced the presentation of the new winger Francisco Trincão for the following day. The 19-year-old Portuguese is said to be one of those who stand for a new departure.
The world then found out on Tuesday evening who will no longer be part of this departure. The name is a little better known: Lionel Messi.
With that, every remnant of order was torn, torn, destroyed in one fell swoop. Spontaneously, August 25th became the dark date in the club’s history. Judgment day, it has come. The day that everyone has always feared and yet nobody could imagine. Not now, and above all: not like this.
After 20 years at FC Barcelona, Messi faxed the club’s management to know of his intention. On the one hand, this shows how frosty his relationship with the unloved club boss Josep Maria Bartomeu has become. But it also owed the need for a legally relevant signature, because Messi is referring to the small print in his employment contract, which is still dated until 2021: a unilateral exit clause that is supposed to give him a free exit.
Can Messi just quit?
The existence of the passage is undisputed, but according to the association it should have been activated by June 10th. Messi does not mention this fact, according to a copy of his fax circulating in the media. But he probably has the spirit of the agreement in mind, which stipulated a date after the end of the club season. And that has only just been achieved in the exceptional Corona year. The difference in interpretation amounts to an impressive 700 million euros; the fixed amount that an interested party would have to raise for a ransom.
Barça must therefore prepare for a legal battle, but initially held out their hand again. It was said that Messi was asked in an initial response to reconsider the whole thing and to focus on his loyalty. On the other hand, it is rumored from the player’s camp that his decision is final. He will not show up either for the Corona tests scheduled for the weekend or for the first units under the new coach Ronald Koeman. From the club’s point of view, this would mean a breach of contract and thus a disciplinary procedure. Yes, it could get very ugly.
Carles Puyol, a highly respected ex-club captain and former teammate, immediately took Messi’s side with all his might: “Respect and admiration, Leo. All my support, mate”. The corresponding tweet received applause from attacker Luis Suárez – which is probably a key to the fact that Messi’s doubts after the debacle against Bayern became a firm decision.
On Monday, 24 hours earlier, Koeman called Suárez according to the radio station “Rac1”. These phone calls ultimately determined Barça’s agenda; in them the newcomer told the players who the thumb would go further up and who would go down irrevocably. At Suarez it was short and sweet: downstairs. He is no longer needed and can look for a new club.
In substance, this is certainly understandable in a 33-year-old with increasing vulnerability to injury. In this form, of course, the procedure was very worthy of discussion. As a matter of course and even before Koeman’s engagement, he was branded a scapegoat by the club. Barça’s third-best goalscorer in the club’s history (198 goals) publicly complained last week that he only read about his upcoming disembarkation from the media, but did not hear anything from the club.
Luis Suárez is Messi’s best friend.
Koeman in turn is said to have annoyed them with two sentences in their own conversation last week: “The era of privileges is over, it’s all about the team” and: “I’ll be inflexible there”.
The end of a long mistaken development
But can such announcements really lead to such a decision? As much as everything is grumbling, howling and scolding, as angry dozens of fans gathered at Camp Nou that night and the opposition unanimously called on Bartomeu to resign: Messi was not only the greatest player in Barça’s history, six-time world footballer and scorer of 634 goals , but also involved in some of the most shameful defeats, accumulated in recent years and taken to extremes at 2-8. If maxims like Koeman’s – actually self-evident – do not seem acceptable to him afterwards, then you are now only dealing with the end of a long undesirable development. Then it may indeed be best to separate. For Barça, to be a football club again without his over-figure. And for Messi to be a footballer again elsewhere.
Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and the two Manchesters are traded as new destinations; it would be surprising if he had taken Tuesday’s step without reinsurance with at least one prospect. In Barcelona, ex-president Joan Gaspart warns that Messi should not be allowed to go for “not a cent less than 700 million euros”. Meanwhile, the prevailing opinion among other observers is that worse than losing him could only be to force him to stay against his will. Catalonia’s regional president Quim Torra said goodbye to Messi that evening almost officially: “Catalonia will always be your home. Thank you for this time of happiness. We were spoiled to be able to share a few years of our lives with the best player in the world. And with one noble sportsman. We will never forget you. “
Quim Torra now had his fingers quickly on the transmit button. Others, not least the club, did not want to come to terms with the traumatic end of a long, indestructible love. Only one thing is certain the day after at Barça: Nobody will be interested in Francisco Trincão today.