So…what was all that for?
The last few years have certainly been dramatic for Lionel Messi, in the worst way possible, but this year’s drama tops everything that’s happened before. In a span of 10 days, Lionel Messi announced he wanted to leave FC Barcelona, accused the club of denying his wish, tried to void his contract by referring to a clause that had expired, was considering taking the club to court, and now has announced that he’ll return to the club next season. But why? Why go through all of this and achieve nothing?
I’ll tell you why: Lionel Messi wanted to provide a distraction from the 8-2 humiliation of a loss that FC Barcelona suffered at the hands of eventual Champions League winners Bayern Munich. If you’ll remember, he did the same kind of thing when Argentina lost to Chile in the final of the Copa America Centenario in 2016. Back then, he retired from the team for two weeks after missing his penalty in the penalty shootout, which opened the door to Chile’s victory.
The problem is that no one forgot about his blunder then and no one will forget the blunder now. The only thing you can say is that this is a MASSIVE miscalculation on the part of Lionel Messi. Simply put, whoever advised him to do this should be fired immediately, and if it truly was his idea, he should be ashamed. For a club icon, who has always professed his love for FC Barcelona, to turn around and say that he wants to leave at the club’s lowest point is just that: low.
It’s unfortunate, because Messi is an all-time great, but he will never live this down. In the future, people of course will remember his scintillating play, but they’ll also remember the fact that he made poor decisions in the face of embarrassment. This is much in the same way that we remember that Diego Maradona was a terrific player but has a drug and alcohol problem and always had issues with his temper. It doesn’t take away from either player’s greatness, but it’s still a stain on their reputation.
Lionel Messi has adversely and permanently affected his relationship with the cules, FC Barcelona’s most ardent supporters. By putting his loyalty to the club, something that he always swore up and down about, in question, he’s opened himself up to criticism from the fans that love him most. And I think that’s a great shame.