Lionel Messi may have played his last Champions League match with Barça on Wednesday in the round of 16. Despite a good performance (1-1), the Catalan club was eliminated by PSG, winner in the first leg at Camp Nou (1-4). Three months from the end of his contract, nobody knows where the Argentine star will evolve next season.
He was 19 the last time this happened to him. Lionel Messi will watch the Champions League quarter-finals on his sofa. Despite an attractive return match, ended in a frustrating draw on Wednesday at the Parc des Princes (1-1), FC Barcelona was eliminated by PSG in the 8th. Blame it on the slap received on the way to Camp Nou (1-4). The fault also with a huge Keylor Navas, author of several miraculous stops. And an omnipresent Marquinhos in central defense.
Messi has enough to leave frustrated such an evening, because the Argentine striker delivered a high level performance in Paris. His equalizer with a sensational strike gave hope to his entire team. But his missed penalty before half-time (pushed back on the bar by Navas) then extinguished the idea of a new comeback.
Laporta tries to convince him to stay
The six-fold Ballon d’Or will not participate following the competition. Like Cristiano Ronaldo, beaten with Juventus by Porto. Their double elimination marks the end of an era. Perhaps also the end of an unforgettable adventure for Messi. Nothing says that we will see him again in C1 with the Blaugrana jersey. Three months from the end of his contract, which will end at the end of June, the No.10 Barça has not yet spoken about his future. Difficult to know if he has already made a decision, or even advanced in his reflection.
Since his return to the presidency of the Catalan club, Joan Laporta, to whom he is close, has done everything to convince him to stay. But it will take solid sporting arguments to retain Messi, a year after his official request to leave. “Messi has to decide his future, no one can help him in this area, and he has seen for a long time that the team is growing, said Ronald Koeman. And with the changes that we have made, with the young people who will progress, he cannot doubt the future of this team. “
There remains the financial aspect. With their big cash flow problems, Barcelona cannot offer their best player a contract similar to the one they have enjoyed for several years. Will Laporta manage to get Messi to accept a significant pay cut? This will be one of the key points of this dossier. In the meantime, the future of the Argentine international (142 caps, 71 goals) feeds rumors and fantasies.
PSG, a hypothesis on the table
PSG is often cited as a possible destination. The cameras did not fail to linger on the complicit exchange between Messi and Di Maria on the lawn of the Parc des Princes. For several months, Parisian players have multiplied the compliments in the press. Neymar had drawn the first at the end of last year. Paredes or Verratti followed suit. Leonardo himself has raised the idea publicly, even though PSG are primarily looking to extend the contracts of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, which run until 2022.
La Cadena Ser ensures that a meeting was scheduled with Jorge Messi, his father, to discuss the peculiarities of Parisian life. The meeting had been fixed in one of the houses of Julio Iglesias in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) but it would have been canceled after the re-election of Laporta.
Manchester City in a dream
There is also the Manchester City option. The English club have been courting Messi for several years and could make a very attractive offer this summer. With the possibility of continuing with an experience in New York City (property of the Skyblues). Enough to convince the native of Rosario to come and settle in England with wife and children? If the Premier League is tougher than Ligue 1, it also represents a greater risk for someone who has played for Barcelona all his life. In a club and a championship that he knows by heart. With a team built to make it shine. The prospect of finding Pep Guardiola, with whom he walked in Europe for several years, could still reassure him on this point, even if the two men have a relationship more professional than friendly.
Beckham is waiting for him in Miami
There remains the possibility of leaving the Old Continent. David Beckham awaits him with open arms at Inter Miami. The England star, owner of the Major League Soccer franchise, recently proclaimed his ambition to bring in the best players on the planet, citing Messi and Ronaldo. The sunshine in South Florida, the geographic proximity to Argentina, the affordable level of the US championship and the financial resources available are significant assets. According to Cadena Ser, who quotes a member of his entourage, “Messi will play in two years at Inter Miami”. In the meantime, the soap opera continues.