Barcelona vice president, Rafael Yuste, pointed out why Barcelona wanted to recruit Messi. Such is Leo’s relationship with fans, economic impact and sporting interest in Messi’s 20 years at the club.
Mr Yuste claims “Blaugrana” is working with Messi’s agent to bring the legend back to where he left off almost two years ago. Leo’s reunion with Barca can be considered a romantic story. They were, for a long time, the perfect bond that seemed inseparable.
Then the shocking separation happened, leaving Messi in tears in the summer of 2021. But after all, Barca needs to look to the future despite “El Pulga” may want to return.
The chapter with Messi is over
In the past 18 months, European football has seen many clubs ready to part with the player who is considered the number one star. Arsenal boldly eliminated Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. After Cristiano Ronaldo left Old Trafford, MU played better. Even the fact that the Portuguese superstar broke up with Real Madrid before, even at his peak, also helped “Los Blancos” open a new era.
Messi leaving Barca was unthinkable but it turned out to help the Catalan club more comfortable in rebuilding the team. After a turbulent year, a new Barca full of vitality under the guidance of Xavi Hernandez is taking shape. Good signs reflect a new project that has just begun to flourish.
Therefore, bringing back the 36-year-old player who is at the end of his career is tantamount to self-sabotaging what makes the team successful. In other words, the process of change of the Catalan club may be interrupted.
Things don’t always go smoothly. There were times when it seemed that Barca could not replace Messi. New signings like Aubameyang, Memphis Depay, Ferran Torres or Luuk de Jong are not so good. Xavi even almost got fired.
But after almost 2 years, Barca became stable by purchasing more efficiently combined with some of the talent available at the team. It is the differences, not finding similarities when there is Messi, that brings them back to the top of La Liga. “Blaugrana” is aiming for the better. Now, they are a young, cohesive and constantly improving team. The team thrived even though there were no real superstars in the dressing room.
In Barca right now, it’s rare to see egos appear. The best players are willing to accept unfamiliar roles and sacrifice profits for the collective good. Center-back Jules Kounde drifted to the right, although openly disliked this position. Pedri and Gavi are positioned in many different roles in midfield despite being the typical box-to-box duo.
Ousmane Dembele, stable on the right flank, also switched to the left to make room for the one-footed Raphinha. Of course, changes take time before the sweet fruit is picked. Frenkie de Jong was in danger of being sold last summer. Dembele was considered a failure just 12 months ago. Both Pedri and Gavi are also frequently criticized.
Those moves demonstrate Barca’s attempt to remove the shadow of the Argentine legend. So there is no reason for them to bring Messi back.
Let the image of Messi sleep in peace with the past
Certainly Leo is still classy. At the 2022 World Cup, Messi proved he can lead a team to glory by putting himself at the center. Admittedly, Barca played less creatively in the last third of the field. In contrast, Messi only needs a foot swing to create a magical moment.
Messi is not selfish, but his presence forces the surrounding satellites to adjust. Messi did not nail in any position, but floated in the middle of the area near the penalty area. With Argentina, he plays on the right wing. For PSG, it is a vague interpretation of the striker role.
Messi occupies the spaces on the pitch but does not follow a specific structure. This is the problem. Barca is said to want Leo to play in a four-man midfield in Xavi’s signature tactical scheme. The system made its debut in January with Gavi, Pedri, De Jong and Sergio Busquets.
This is considered a tactical breakthrough. They beat Real Madrid in their first game using the system and have only lost once since. There is an ideal balance. So when Messi comes, who will go?
Xavi will certainly have a plan if Messi returns to the Camp Nou. But he spent 18 months making everything work. Now Xavi might have to destroy it all.
On top of that, Messi brought Barca more trouble financially. La Liga president, Javier Tebas, confirmed Barca cannot sign new recruits. Their budget is negative 200 million euros. Even Gavi’s new contract was canceled and he is playing as a young player. By re-signing Messi, Barca put themselves in a difficult position. They have to find a way to pay Leo. But this doesn’t seem possible.
Years from now, no one may remember what Messi did for PSG. On the contrary, his image will always be etched in my mind with a World Cup medal and 672 goals for Barca. The moment Messi holds up his iconic shirt when he hits Real’s net is always a beautiful image.
Leo’s legacy at Barca remains intact. Barca can look at old photos, can reflect on the great times with Messi. But they don’t need Messi anymore. That love, as wonderful as ever, is best left in the past.
Xiaofeng | 09:00 08/04/2023