The Messi saga has finally come to an end; Messi is staying at Barcelona. But, the last ten days were full of drama, twists and turns. The journey of Messi that started on a napkin paper was about to end in a burofax. A club like Barcelona, with such beautiful history, was on the verge of losing out a player like Lionel Messi in a dreadful manner. The detailed Messi saga unfolds right here, from the beginning.
MESSI SAGA, THE BEGINNING
“There are some decisions that we had already made, and others that we will make over the next few days. Announcements will be made from next week, we need to make decisions after things have calmed down.”
These were the words of The President of Football Club Barcelona after Barca were left completely shattered by Bayern in the Champions League quarterfinals. After a few days, Setien was sacked, and Koeman was appointed. But, speculations of Messi leaving were starting to arise. After being appointed as Barca’s coach, Koeman was already geared up for the vital changes in the club, mostly related to the exit of certain players like Rakitic, Umtiti, Vidal, Suarez.
Bartomeu had clearly said about how Messi, Ter Stegen, Semedo, De Jong, Lenglet, Dembélé and Griezmann were the only non- transferrable players.
The club and Koeman started communicating with the players regarding their future. Rumours suggested that Alba, Pique and Busquets would still be the part of the Koeman’s project for the next season. But, other things were starting to get ugly related to exit, especially with Luis Suarez and the Messi saga was about to begin.
LUIS SUAREZ’S SITUATION
After Koeman was appointed as Barca’s coach he had contacted players individually and told them about their future, about how they weren’t a part of his project for next season. Luis Suarez who has 1 year in his contract was contacted by Koeman via phone call and was told to seek an exit. It surely wasn’t a good thing for Luis Suarez.
(🌕) Suarez is very upset after Koeman's call. He considers that this is not the right way to treat a footballer who has given everything for the club. He believes he deserves a better farewell, informs Manolo Oliveros. @partidazocope #FCB 💥🇺🇾
— Reshad Rahman ✆ (@ReshadRahman_) August 24, 2020
Currently, after Messi’s interview, we are clear about how Suarez’s issue is unrelated to this Messi saga, but considering how Messi’s burofax came around the time such things were happening at the club, speculations were made about how this was one of the reason, Messi showed his desire to leave and the Messi saga was considered as a mere tantrum of Messi showing his disagreement over Suarez’s exit; possibly a bait from Bartomeu to portray him as The villain.
Not many of us knew that something called ”Burofax” existed. Burofax is registered fax of Spain. On 25th August, he communicated with the club via Burofax stating his desire to leave. Sources claimed that Messi believed it was impossible to have a good project with Bartomeu. The Argentine said in the burofax; his clause allows him to terminate the contract unilaterally.
This is how the Messi saga began with Burofax at the table of Bartomeu.
Messi took the footballing world by storm through his burofax. To be precise, not just the footballing world. Over 5 million tweets were mentioning Messi within less than 7 hours. He gained 2 million new followers on Instagram within 3 hours, breaking the record of Jennifer Aniston. “Corona was replaced by the word “Messi” as the most searched word in google. Every club related to almost every sport showed their desire to have him. That includes football, tennis, NBA, F1, Baseball, Ice hockey, Cricket, Athletics.
The Messi saga created an uprise in Barcelona. Fans started to gather around at the office of Barcelona and were venting their anger at Bartomeu.
Man City, the possible destination of Messi, were now accelerating to prepare to bring the Argentine and reunite him with Pep. Other clubs lined for Messi was PSG, as they would afford Messi and Messi playing with Neymar would be a good thing for the French team. Meanwhile, There was chaos in Barcelona. Barcelona then reportedly responded to Messi’s burofax with their burofax stating their desire of Messi’s continuity and how they wanted Messi to end his career at the Camp nou.
But, there was no direct communication between the club and Messi.
There were few rumours of Bartomeu considering resigning to keep Messi at Barcelona which was later denied by Bartomeu. Meanwhile, there were strong rumours of Pep already contacting Messi and his father regarding Messi’s future and Messi’s father Jorge Messi also communicated with the club that Messi wanted to leave.
Trincao’s Presentation Day
We cannot imagine what must have gone through the head of this young Portuguese, Francisco Trincao, who had his Presentation as a Barca player a day after Messi told the world that he wants to leave Barcelona. Trincao attended the media together with Ramón Planes. Still, Josep María Bartomeu was not present at the press conference to avoid possible questions about Leo Messi and maybe about his dismissal.
The President accompanied Trincao in the run-up, but it was Ramos Planes who came up to talk to media.
While addressing the rumours, Ramos Planes said,” We want to rebuild for the future together with the best player in history. We have to show huge respect for Messi because he is the best player in the world.”
“We can’t make this a dispute between Leo Messi and Barcelona because neither deserves it,”
But, things weren’t going Bartomeu’s way. One of the Presidental candidates, Jordi Farre, had already filed a motion of censure against Bartomeu and his board of directors by then and the rumours of Messi leaving with or without Bartomeu’s dismissal were getting stronger than ever.
MESSI SAGA CONTINUED
The Messi saga continued. Man City was preparing to offer a 3-year contract to Messi and then moving to its partner club like New York City afterwards. Meanwhile, Bayern, Inter and Juventus denied rumours of going for Messi, but PSG and City were still in the race.
Later on, Bartomeu, Oscar Grau, Ramon Planes and Bordas had a meeting. Bartomeu flatly refused to sell Messi. They were keen on not giving the letter of release and trying to prevent the case from being settled in the court.
Meanwhile, outside the office when they were inside, protests continued.
All of a sudden, there were strong rumours from Spain about Bartomeu willing to resign if Messi publicly says that he would stay if Bartomeu leaves( which has happened now) putting pressure on Messi. Bartomeu and Barcelona were keen on not giving the letter of Freedom to Leo Messi. Meanwhile, there were rumours of City preparing players like Gabriel Jesús, Mahrez or Bernardo Silva in any exchange operation for Messi which was later denied.
MESSI’S CONTRACT CLAUSE
The biggest problem in this whole Messi saga was Messi’s contract clause. Barcelona believed any club that intended to sign Messi must pay 700m clause. Messi’s lawyer believed Messi has the right to leave the club for free, but Barcelona was firm on their stance. After consulting with the lawyers, Messi then informed the club about not appearing for the PCR Test. Barcelona denied that they received any information on Messi not appearing for the PCR Test, but then he didn’t appear later on.
Pep was already at Barcelona and Jorge Messi(Messi’s father and his agent) was preparing to arrive at Barcelona to discuss Messi’s future. Later on, Multiple sources claimed that Messi was absolutely right about his clause. Then, Laliga came with a statement in support of Barcelona stating Messi still has a contract in force till 2021. Well, it was not surprising with the known fact about how much loss Laliga would face if Messi were to leave. But, this totally took the Messi saga to another level.
It was starting to look like, going to Court would be the only possible way to solve this dispute.
While Barcelona and Laliga claimed Messi cannot Leave, more and more sources came on and said about Messi was correct about his right to terminate the contract and leave.
— Reshad Rahman ✆ (@ReshadRahman_) August 30, 2020
By then, Messi had asked the club twice already to make it a friendly exit for him. Messi would never want to go to court against the club he has loved the most. Meanwhile, Jorge Mendes landed in Barcelona and the meeting between Club and Jorge Messi was underway. The meeting ended without a clear decision on departure. But, later on, rumours came up about Messi willing to stay instead of battling against the club in the court.
📰[Cuatro] | For the first time Jorge Messi confirms that Messi is studying the option to stay for one more season. pic.twitter.com/FWCpevQqDB
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) September 3, 2020
BARTOMEU’S SCANDALS CONTINUED
Bartomeu was already surrounded by lots of criticism regarding the Messi saga, about how Suarez’s exit was being discussed and how was not considering leaving his post. Then, again, he was caught up with Corruption charge claimed by Catalan Police Force. They concluded that there was evidence of corruption in the ‘BarçaGate’ case after analysing the accusations against Josep Maria Bartomeu’s directive reflected in the media or in complaints filed by third parties.
📰[El Mundo] | The Mossos d'Esquadra accuses Bartomeu's Board of corruption.
In a report sent to the judge on 'Barçagate', they affirm that the economic crimes could have been committed with personal benefit. pic.twitter.com/YVYBQclEyu
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) September 3, 2020
MESSI AND LALIGA
On 4th September, Jorge Messi, agent and father of Messi, released a statement in which he is denied the existence of a €700M release clause in response to Laliga’s previous claim on Messi’s contract. They said that they do not know which contract La Liga has analyzed before releasing their official statement a few days ago.
Furthermore, the contract stated, “This compensation (€700M Clause) will not apply when the termination of the contract is by the player’s unilateral decision from the end of the 2019/20 season.”
Laliga responded with the statement claiming that the 700m clause was still valid.
THE FINAL DECISION OF MESSI SAGA
On 4th September, Lionel Messi talked about everything related to this Messi saga; about what led him to this decision, the sufferings that came along and about his final decision to continue at Barcelona in a world exclusive with Goal.
“Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court.”
Messi revealed the only reason he was staying was that he would never, ever end things in an uglier manner in the club where he had the best times of his footballing career.
Messi also talked about how Bartomeu had failed massively to keep his word.
“I thought, and I was sure that I was free to leave, the president had always said that by the end of the season, I could decide if I want to stay or not,” he said.
“Now they rely on the fact that I did not say it before June 10, but on June 10, we were still competing for La Liga amidst this awful coronavirus and this disease, which altered the whole campaign.”
“And this is why I will continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way for me to leave was to pay the €700 million (£624m/$823m) clause and that this is impossible.”
So, the Messi saga came to an end. Messi is staying, but we are still unsure if he will continue further on. He might end his career here if the election that will take place in March gives some significant changes or something happens before that due to Motion of Censure, or Bartomeu’s corruption charges bring some change.
Recent news has confirmed that former President Joan Laporta has also signed the petition for a motion of censure against Josep Maria Bartomeu. So, there might be some early changes in the club, or Bartomeu might resign following Messi’s outburst. Nothing has been official on Bartomeu’s continuity, but now that Messi’s staying, Fans are happy.
It looks like Messi has to stay rather than he wants to stay and looks unfair to Leo, but what is more unjust to both Messi and his fans is, He leaving Barcelona without proper farewell from the fans. Whatever happens in the coming days, Messi has been right about his final decision. He settled the Messi saga in the best possible manner.
Going to court have made things bitter for fans, Messi and the club.
All we can hope is, Messi finds Joy under Koeman, and new project and fans will be able to cherish his final magical moments at the club where he deserves to be, where he has to be.
One more time Leo, “Visca el Barça and visca Catalunya!”