It is no more a secret that Barcelona FC is currently going through a trying time primarily orchestrated by the actions and inactions of the club president – Josep Maria Bartomeu. The genesis of the current problems could be traced to the allegation that Josep Maria Bartomeu’s led management hired a public relations firm (13Ventures) to smear the images of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Pep Guardiola among others. This action as alleged then pitched Messi, Gerard Pique and other superstars against the management with the demand that the management should come clean on this said allegation. A precursor to that was the statement credited to the director of football (Eric Abidal) that Messi and other senior players were responsible for the laying off of former coach – Ernesto Valverde. Exacerbating the brewing crisis was the sudden emergence of the killer pandemic virus known as COVID – 19 which bestows further financial hardship on the already leaned purse of the club and therefore necessitated a decision by the Josep Maria Bartomeu’s led management to force a somewhat huge pay cut on the players without prior consultation with them. Of course, this action of the management drew the ire of the senior players led by Messi who voiced their disappointment that the management systematically compelled them to do what they were going to do anyway.
The boiling crisis at this great football club reached the climax few weeks ago when six members of president Josep Maria Bartomeu’s board stepped down. Part of their resignation letter read thus; “we have reached this point and see no way to reverse the ways business is managed at the club ahead of important challenges in the future and especially post-pandemic. We want to stress our disappointment over the unfortunate incident with social media accounts, known as ‘Barcagate’ in the press” referring to the smearing of the images of the club’s senior players. All these issues with the club having Lionel Messi at the centre of them all have led to the speculations by the soccer lovers all over the world that perhaps Messi may be heading towards Inter Milan in the summer. But in a sharp rebuff of the speculations, Messi has come out openly and declared emphatically that he’ll definitely stay put at Camp Nou and renew his contract with this great team known as Barcelona FC – The only home he knows and loves.
But despite Lionel Messi’s statement, don’t you think Messi should sign for another club and prove to the soccer lovers all over the world that he can survive and excel wherever he plays? Or can he really lay claim to being the greatest soccer player in the world when he has always being a one team player?