Lionel Messi to Make a Messy Exit?


Japheth Oyedepo

Lionel Messi’s requested departure has caught the attention of the whole soccer world. Clubs are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the Argentinian star…and rightfully so.

Japheth Oyedepo, Staff Writer

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players to ever play the game. With his quick feet and sharp shooting, he has gained many accolades with the Barcelona Football Club. However, this seemingly extra-terrestrial being is, in fact, human, meaning he has aged from the time he started at Barcelona. With his growth, the club has strayed from the greatness that, in the past, came with the name of FC Barcelona. In recent years, the team has seen the exit of world-class players and the entrance of subpar ones. These factors  have led to a seemingly impossible circumstance: Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona.

The question one might ask is what led to this drastic point. Truthfully, it was not only one single event. Whenever a key member of the team left, they were not usually replaced with someone of the same caliber. For example, Neymar Puyol was one of the best defenders in the world in his time while Carlos Puyol, Andres Inesta and Xavi conquered the midfield with their pin-point passing and defensive expertise. Neymar, who is still one of the world’s best players, sped past defenders at Barcelona as he took some of the attacking weight off of Messi’s shoulders.

When one of these players left, the Barcelona executives replaced them with mediocre or average players who promised to rise to the expected standard but ultimately fell flat. These continuous signings ledt Barcelona fans underwhelmed and disappointed with the results they have witnessed up to this point.

“It will be extremely interesting to see whether or not Messi leaves, but seeing how the organization has treated him throughout the years, I feel like if he does decide to jump ship it’ll not only be one of the biggest sport stories of the year but also justified,” sophomore John Maderos said.

A number of disappointing results have also led to Messi’s imminent departure. Failure in the Union of European Football Associations Champions league going back to 2018 has partially credited to this fact. In both 2018 and 2019, Barcelona gave up their relatively sizable leads in the semifinals of the tournament. More recently, Barcelona were knocked out of the quarterfinals of the Champions league by German team, Bayern Munich by an embarrassing score of 8-2, leaving the Spanish giants looking a lot less than the sum of their parts.

Behind the poor managerial decisions and dreadful signings, is an incompetent board who prioritizes business over soccer. 1.02 billion dollars have been spent since 2016, yet I can only name a few players that have been introduced and have made a positive impact.

— Nathaniel Leiva

It has been a bumpy road on the domestic front for Barcelona as well. Their failure to win the “Copa del Rey,” Spain’s premier domestic tournament, made La Liga the only viable option for silverware. Going into the CoronaVirus break, Barcelona was in a decent position at first in the La Liga table, leaving their rivals and chasers Real Madrid the need to win almost every game and for Barcelona to lose or draw several of theirs to even have a chance. The extraordinary thing is, that is actually what happened. Barcelona failed to win 4 of their last ten games with 3 draws and 1 loss while Real Madrid went a perfect ten for ten leading up to their title clinch, losing or drawing none of these games. Even when Barcelona did win, they failed to show true passion, as several of their wins came by barely scraping by. It looked like the team was very fatigued and was running on its last legs.

With all of these factors plus poor management, external pressure and front office mishaps, Lionel Messi has made his decision clear, as he has refused to attend the club’s testing and training sessions. In addition, the exit of Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic means another piece of the Catalonian puzzle breaking off. Unfortunately, the club is in a downward spiral and Messi most likely wont be there to save it.