Things have gotten a bit “Messi” at FC Barcelona. If you’re unaware about what I’m referring to, Lionel Messi put himself in the spotlight again in the world of soccer; but this time it was not for scoring an incredible goal.
Messi posted a Spanish article on his Instagram story where sporting director and former teammate Eric Abidal claimed that many Barcelona players were unhappy and underperforming under former coach Ernesto Valverde. Additionally, Abidal said the Barcelona board started their search for a Valverde replacement after their 0-0 draw in the December Clásico.
“I sincerely don’t like to do these things, but I think that everyone should be responsible of their work and take charge of their decision,” Messi said in Spanish. “The players that play on the field are the first to recognize when we weren’t good. Those responsible in the sporting management area should also take responsibility and over everything take charge of the decisions they take. Lastly, I believe that when you talk about players, you should give names because if not it will make us look dirty and feed things that they say and are not true.”
This is unlike the Argentinian icon, to get himself into conflicts, especially on social media; and against a former teammate truly shows that he was upset.
But the reason why Messi’s story is a hot topic in the world of soccer is because people believe this will be the starting point of his fallout and eventual exit of the club. Even Manchester City’s coach Pep Guardiola, who also coached Messi when he was at Barcelona, commented on the post and hoped that he will stay at the club.
Messi’s contract ends in summer 2021, however the player has a clause in his contract in which he can leave the club for free at the end of the season.
People shouldn’t worry about this issue because of one thing: Messi isn’t going to leave the Blaugrana. He’s spent his entire career playing at the same club and is decorated with domestic, European and individual trophies because of it. Not only that, but if it weren’t for Barcelona giving him the proper treatment for his growth deficiency there wouldn’t have been a Lionel Messi.
I personally believe Messi was in the wrong about this whole situation. If you’ve watched Barcelona the last two seasons under Valverde they’ve had notable losses, especially in the Champions League, because of his poor coaching abilities.
For instance, last season the Blaugrana found themselves to have the worst winless streak in 18 years of six games. While that may not seem like a big deal, it’s incredibly detrimental for big clubs, especially in Spain. Many claim that it’s not the coach’s fault but the players’ performance, and to that I simply ask, “Who’s telling the players to perform?”
Moving on to the more obvious defeats under Valverde, the biggest were against Roma in the 2017/18 Champions League quarterfinal and the 2018/19 Champions League semifinal against Liverpool. The reason why I grouped these two together and not discuss them separately is because in both matches, Barcelona had good enough leads in the first legs but completely blew them in the second legs and ruined their chances of lifting the Champions League trophy twice in a row.
Valverde got too confident in the second legs of both matches and it showed. Against Roma, Valverde made substitutions too late into the match when the Giallrossi scored their third goal in the 82nd minute. Against Liverpool, Valverde did not have a good strategy for the second half of the match after his side was unable to score in the first half five times.
As stated earlier, I don’t believe Messi will end up leaving the club because of how long he’s been there and because he’s given so much to them and the fans. This illustrates the club’s questionable season so far, after having a rough start in their domestic league and sometimes problematic performances in the Champions League and Copa del Rey for instance; but that’s a conversation for another day.