One of the stories of the summer exploded on Thursday evening as it turned out that Barcelona’s attempts to secure Lionel Messi to extend his contract ultimately failed, leaving the Argentine to choose where he will play in the 2021/22 season.
Initial optimism from the Joan Laporta camp, which campaigned its entirety on keeping Messi at the club, has now turned to great disappointment after a meeting with Messi’s representatives made it clear he would not stay.
The reasons for reaching this decision will appear in the coming hours, but attention will immediately shift to the next step for Messi, which will probably be the largest free signing in the history of football.
“I would like him to come to Italy one day. I hope he accepts the challenge of leaving his comfort zone like me, but if he’s happy (at Barcelona, where he played all his professional career) I respect him.” These were the statements of Cristiano Ronaldo a while ago. The Portuguese, who had been a rival throughout Messi’s life, had suggested the challenge to the Argentine.
What no one thought was that that day would come. Barcelona have announced that Messi is leaving and will indeed accept the challenge of leaving the comfort zone of the club he has played for all his life.
“I have played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal and with my national team, while Messi is still in Spain,” said Cristiano.
Now Messi will have the opportunity to experience new football, a new league, other habits, another environment and challenge the feeling of discomfort in a foreign place. “Messi is a great player and a good young man. I came out of my comfort zone and accepted this challenge in Turin, I showed that I’m still a great player,” Cristiano ended his comments at the time.