Is This Why Messi Hasn't Signed New Barca Deal?
Is This Why Lionel Messi Hasn't Signed New FC Barcelona Deal?
FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is yet to sign a new contract with the Catalan giants. Is this his reason for the delay?
What do we know?
Two months ago, Barca announced on their official website that Messi had agreed terms on a new deal at the club, but still no contract has been signed. In their announcement, the club said the Argentine would be extending his stay until 2021, and that he would put pen to paper on the deal before the club's pre-season had come to an end.
"FC Barcelona and Leo Messi have agreed on a contract renewal that will keep the Argentinian at the Club until June 30th, 2021. The deal will be signed in the coming weeks, when Messi returns to the team for pre-season training," the club announced on its official website on 5 July this year.
Earlier this week, president Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted that all that is missing from the contract is Messi's signature, thus changing his tone from saying the Argentine will sign in pre-season to "it has been a busy schedule with a lot of games but we will find the right moment", as he was quoted by Diario Sport.
The club's fans are understandably concerned about Messi's situation, especially with his contract expiring at the end of this season and other clubs being able to approach him about a free transfer in January. Many supporters cannot believe the Barca board have waited until the last year of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's deal to negotiate an extension.
So what is the delay?
Barca are going through a difficult period at the moment, with Neymar's exit from the club being dubbed their biggest failure in years. The issues surrounding Bartomeu and his directors at the Blaugrana have been discussed by many major Spanish and European publications.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Neymar said: "I spent four years there and was very happy. I began happy, spent four years happy and left happy. But not with them (the board). For me, they shouldn't be in charge of Barca. Barca deserve much better, and everyone knows this."
The Brazilian's last sentence from that quote is extremely telling, as one of the people who "knows this" could very well be Messi. After all, he has been the club's superstar for more than 13 years now.
The Catalan giants' failure to sign Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho earned them more mockery from media and fans alike, but again the board were accused of being deceptive after the English side rubbished the club's claims they had asked for €200 million (R3 billion) for Coutinho, according to ESPN.
This week saw another unsavoury event unfold as Andres Iniesta publicly corrected Bartomeu for saying the midfielder had agreed a new deal. The Spaniard, whose contract also expires next year, told Diario Sport that there is "no truth" to the president's claims. Again, more confusion ensued.
Tweet from a popular Brazilian journalist on the Iniesta situation:
Now, can fans trust Barca when Bartomeu insists that Messi will stay at the Camp Nou? That is unknown, but what we are aware of is that the president and his directors could soon face a vote of no confidence. This could just be what the Argentine is waiting for, believes two-time Barca presidential candidate Agusti Benedito.
"I think Leo is waiting to see what happens with the vote of no confidence, the signings that are made, how things are going in October, November. He's going to wait and wait," Benedito told ESPN.
The board could possibility be voted out of their positions by valued members of the club, and Benedito is one of those who wants this motion accepted. If not, the risk of the likes of Messi and even Iniesta leaving the club due to their unhappiness with the current board are high.
If Bartomeu and those around him are voted out, the Argentine could renew his stay at the Catalan club and a new president could earn the praise for finally getting Messi to sign as his reluctance to put pen to paper on a new deal could be seen as a silent protest against the board.
The 30-year-old, who is La Liga's highest ever scorer with 351 goals, has been linked with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, where several former Barca staff members work. If Messi has still not signed a new contract by January, he will be able to enter into negations with whoever approaches him. Messi, who is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, could then leave the club for free.
The next few weeks at Barca should be interesting as frustrations among supporters continue to build.
Why do you think Messi has not yet signed a new deal at the club? Let us know in the comments section below.