Lionel Messi shook the football world last summer when he announced he wanted to leave the Catalan club. The Argentine wizard has been with the Spanish giants since the age of 13, but his relationship with Barca finally broke down.
Messi performed a U-turn in the end and decided to remain with Barcelona, who were able to patch over the dispute. This summer could be a huge window for the club legend in terms of settling where he will play for the final years of his career. Here is a look at his most likely options.
Messi’s future at the Nou Camp may depend on how well Barcelona perform this season. They currently trail Atletico Madrid by eight points in the La Liga standings. They have best football betting odds of +600 for the title. If they are able to turn things around in the league, it could help convince their star that he should remain in Spain.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has a contract with Barcelona up until the end of June. He may, of course, decide to see out the rest of his career with the club he has flourished at since he was a young kid.
Barcelona were embarrassed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last season in the quarter final. Messi is a four-time winner of that competition and he is likely to be desperate to win it at least one more time before he retires. He must consider if he feels his side have a realistic chance in Europe over the next few years before committing to a new deal.
One of the most obvious destinations for Messi, if he decides to leave Barca, is Manchester City. They are managed by his former coach Pep Guardiola, a man Messi admires very much.
Given their wealth, City would be one of the few clubs in world football who could afford to pay the Argentina international’s wages. The Premier League is considered to be one of the best leagues in Europe so the challenge of playing in England could really appeal to the Barcelona captain.
City have yet to win the Champions League, a trophy their owners have been desperate to secure. Messi would give them an excellent chance of ending that wait.
French champions PSG are thought to be very interested in trying to land Messi this summer. If they were successful, they could line up with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Messi next season, a frightening front three partnership.
The Barcelona man would be linking up again with his former teammate Neymar. At this stage of his career, the French league may be a good option for Messi. It wouldn’t be quite as rigorous as the Premier League and if it’s a fifth Champions League he wants, PSG would be strong contenders for the trophy
PSG are now coached by Argentine Mauricio Pochettino which should interest the 33-year-old. They would have no trouble putting together a contract for the highest-paid player in world football.
Messi remains one of the best players in the game today. He will want to continue at the highest level for as long as possible. It is going to be interesting to see who that will be for in the 2021/22 campaign.