Barcelona, August 19
Barcelona is on the verge of saying a brand new coach, and it might have a brand new president subsequent 12 months.
The membership can be promising “wide-ranging” and “profound” structural adjustments after certainly one of its most humiliating defeats ever — the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich within the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Friday.
The one massive query that continues to be is whether or not will probably be in a position to hold Lionel Messi.
The group’s greatest star for greater than a decade has a contract with Barcelona till 2021, however he hasn’t been hiding his dissatisfaction with the membership.
“I haven’t spoken with Messi but I talked to his father,” Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu instructed Barça TV on Tuesday.
“Messi is disappointed and frustrated, just like everyone else. It was painful but we have to pick ourselves up. It’s what we all have to do.”
Messi has been extra outspoken than ever this season, speaking concerning the group’s issues and pointing to poor choices by membership administrators. Although he has by no means actually hinted about leaving, his current actions have raised doubts about his future.
“Football is a game that comes and goes very quickly in your life, so this next two years, where he’s still going to have the power to influence games the way he does, is he going to want to be doing that not really competing for the big titles? I don’t know,” mentioned former participant Rio Ferdinand.
Spanish media has reported that negotiations to increase Messi’s contract past subsequent June have been on maintain because the issues on the membership escalated. One Brazilian outlet, Esporte Interativo, mentioned Messi truly needs to depart now as a substitute of ready till subsequent 12 months.
Rumors of golf equipment eager to signal Messi began to floor instantly after the group’s loss to Bayern, with Pep Guardiola-coached Manchester City reportedly among the many front-runners.
Many assume the humiliation in opposition to Bayern could have been the tipping level for the Argentina nice. Messi seemed like he had already given up at half-time, when pictures confirmed him sitting at one finish of the bench wanting down and biting his nails whereas ready to return on the sector.
Messi and his teammates needed to face livid Barcelona followers who confronted them and criticised the group on the membership’s coaching middle after the squad returned from Portugal.
Messi has been unusually quiet because the loss in Lisbon and hasn’t made any public statements, in contrast to after the group misplaced the Spanish league title to Real Madrid just a few weeks in the past and he got here out to overtly discuss to the media.
Earlier this season, Messi criticised Barcelona administrators for a few of their choices. He was particularly upset with sports activities director Éric Abidal after he criticised gamers’ efforts amid a collection of poor outcomes. Barcelona mentioned Tuesday that the membership and Abidal had reached a mutual settlement to half methods.
Messi had additionally mentioned that he did not assume Barcelona would succeed within the Champions League the best way issues had been on the membership.
The membership can be going through a tough monetary state of affairs due to the coronavirus pandemic, which might make it tougher to barter with Messi. Still, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has all the time mentioned he expects Messi to complete his profession on the membership, and that Messi needs the identical.
The president reiterated that he was assured the playmaker would stay with the membership, particularly with former Dutch participant Ronald Koeman set to change into the group’s new coach.
“Messi wants to finish his career with Barcelona, he has said it many times,” Bartomeu mentioned.
“I spoke with Koeman and he told me that Messi will be the central piece of his project.”
The results of subsequent 12 months’s presidential elections will possible play an important function in Messi’s determination, and it’ll even be essential whether or not he’s proud of the work of the group’s new coach.
The 33-year-old Messi is among the many getting old gamers throughout the squad, together with Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Jordi Alba. The kids touted as promising stars embody Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig, although it is too early to know the way a lot they are going to have the ability to contribute to the primary group sooner or later.
After the membership introduced “profound changes to the first team,” many had been questioning what that meant for Messi.
Bartomeu was fast to incorporate Messi among the many gamers not up for transfers on the membership.
“He is the best player in history,” the president mentioned. AP