Lionel Messi has been a lifetime Barcelona guy, rising through the organization’s youth program and emerging into the spotlight at the ripe young age of 17 back in 2004. But now in his fourteenth season with the famed Spanish club, rumors have begun to surface yet again of whether or not the world’s most revered player will remain with the team for the entirety of his career.
Messi’s current contract with Barcelona is set to expire in just about six months, which has set rumors flourishing as to whether the forward will be staying in La Liga at all. Though past reports have stated that the Argentinian planned to re-sign with the club until 2021, a newer account from Goal’s Peter Staunton says that Messi has also been “strongly linked” with Manchester City, who’s commandeered by ex-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
Goal has reported that La Liga president Javier Tebas claims Messi has already re-signed with Barca, but nothing is set in stone yet. The superstar will be eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement outside of Spain as soon as January, which would set up a potential transfer next summer to be one of the most expensive and historic of all time.
— Goal UK (@GoalUK) November 16, 2017
However, if Messi were to leave the only club he’s ever known, there is a former Barcelona player who would support his decision, and that’s Ronaldinho. The Brazilian left Barcelona himself nine years ago, joining AC Milan where he would finish off his career. Ronaldinho now serves an ambassadorial role for the Spanish team, but would understand if Messi feels the need for a change of scenery.
“If it touches his heart to go to another club, even though I am an ambassador for Barcelona, I would support him but I would love for him to stay in Barcelona,” Ronaldinho said in his interview.
To say that Messi departing from Barcelona would be a gigantic loss is a severe understatement, as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has led the club to its most successful period ever in its existence. This doesn’t even factor in that Barca just made a landmark deal last summer that sent Neymar, another rising superstar, over to Paris Saint-Germain.
With the decision process still looming, it’ll ultimately be up to Lionel Messi himself, who pretty much has the luxury to end up wherever he pleases assuming the money is right. Though it would be no surprise to see the Argentinian stay put, anything is possible, and Ronaldinho is one who can attest to that, as he found himself in a similar situation nearly a decade ago.