10/08/2021; 9:50 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
With the dust of Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona yet to settle, the Catalan giants are enmeshed in honouring the Argentine who faithfully served the Catalan club for 21 years.
It will be nice to note that the ‘messy’ Messi departure is the most massive screw up of the century and the fault lies predominantly at the feet of ex-club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Laporta had to right the wrongs made by Bartomeu but eventually failed in his quest to keep by far the greatest player to dorn the Barcelona shirt.
Many clubs honour their legendary players by retiring the jersey they wore while playing for the club. Maybe the word legend should be substituted for Messi. After serving the club for 21 years and making them one of the most recognizable teams in world football, perhaps it is just right that the number shirt at Barca is retired.
No Barca fan would oppose that, but once again, it’s La Liga rules to the rescue as it stands in the way of it happening.
According to Marca, the Spanish authorities does not allow for such a move. Someday, a brave player would have to shoulder the responsibility of strapping that shirt on.
Messi is not the only legend to have adorned the number shirt. Other players like Rivaldo, Ronaldinho have also worn it, but the little man stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Barca’s future is a ‘Messiless’ one entrusted on Laporta by the merciless manner Bartomeu administered the club’s finances.
Ahead of the 2021/22 season, FC Barcelona must find a way to steady the ship that is rocking following the departure of Lionel Messi.
La Pulga had to leave the club due to the financial mess the club finds itself in. With La Liga’s financial restriction in play, Barcelona could not renew Messi’s deal after it expired at the end of June.
The crisis forced the Catalan giant to rely on free transfers to get in players. Even at that, it was not enough to sneak under the radar of the financial restrictions.
Perhaps if Barca had been able to offload some heavy earners at the club, Messi might still be at the Nou Camp. Shifting Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, and Philippe Coutinho has proved a difficult task.
That’s water under the bridge as it relates to Messi. As the Argentine looks set to join PSG, the big question is what jersey number will Messi wear?
His close friend Neymar currently wears the number 10 shirt and it remains to be seen if he’ll relinquish it for Messi. Other numbers taken are Angel Di Maria (No 11), Mauro Icardi (No 9) and Kylian Mbappe (No 7).