With it being claimed FC Barcelona might have to sell players in order to afford a new contract for Lionel Messi, here are nine players who previously left the Catalan club because of the Argentine.
Click through the gallery to see players who moved on from Barcelona, directly or indirectly, because of Messi, according to several reports.
It was recently suggested by Spanish football expert Pete Jenson that the Catalan club may need to get a few players off their books to be able to keep Messi.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s contract in Spain runs out at the end of the season and the club’s financial situation might squander their chances of hanging on to the 33-year-old, if funds are not raised.
With Messi being arguably the greatest player in Barcelona’s history, it would not be a stretch to assume the Blaugrana will do everything possible to appease their captain, as they have perhaps done in the past.
Several former stars have been moved on for reasons involving Messi, such as in 2008, when Pep Guardiola was believed to feel Deco and Ronaldinho might have had a negative influence on the Argentine had they remained.
The inexperienced and unproven Guardiola, therefore, took it upon himself to send both high-profile superstars through Barcelona’s exit doors, a controversial decision that later appeared to pay off.
Samuel’s Eto’o’s 2009 transfer to Inter Milan could also be attributed to Messi’s growing impact on the side, as it came around the same time the Argentine began to take up more central positions on the pitch.
The Cameroon legend joined Jose Mourinho in a swap deal with Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose time in Spain did not last long, and maybe also due to Messi being the team’s focal point.
After Luis Suarez’s big-money arrival from Liverpool in 2014, Messi was mainly used as a right-sided playmaker or inside forward playing off the right, a position a few others felt most comfortable in but were unable to make their own.
Academy product Carles Perez found game time hard to come by after breaking into the senior team, as did Malcom, who joined the club from Bordeaux in 2018. The Brazilian lasted only a season at the Spanish giants, featuring just 24 times.
See the players Barcelona could sell to keep Messi below: