We all know that Lionel Messi has spent most of his entire playing career with Barcelona a football club he joined at a young age of 13-ysr through the the club’s academy.
The Argentina international footballer has established himself as the greatest player in the club’s history.
The stories of Lionel Messi and Barcelona are so intertwined that it is impossible to think of one without the other.
Taking into account all his achievements at Camp Nou, the thought of Messi wearing a club color other than the Blaugrana red and blue seems unexpected.
However, despite his unquestioning loyalty, there have been several occasions when Lionel Messi has come close to leaving Barcelona.
Back in 2019, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed that the Gunners were interested in signing Lionel Messi in 2003.
Rosario native at the time received a warm welcome in Barcelona’s youth team but is a year away from making his senior debut.
He has teammates such as Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique. While the last two left Spain for England within a year, Lionel Messi has remained and was a first-team player in less than two years.
Given that Lionel Messi was already breaking records at Barcelona at the time, great things were expected of him. So, it is almost impossible for the club to let him go to Arsenal.
Messi started to become a mainstay of Barcelona’s main team in the 2004-2005 season. He signed his first professional contract in June 2005 after turning 18 years old. His purchase clause at that time was 150 million.
He has impressed in the Joan Gamper trophy against Fabio Capello’s Juventus that summer and received a standing ovation from the Camp Nou.
Impressed by what they saw, Juventus made an offer to borrow Lionel Messi, while Inter Milan offered to pay a release clause of 150 million euros and triple his salary.
According to Joan Laporta, it was the only time Barcelona came close to losing Lionel Messi during his first term.
Laporta also expressed Inter Milan’s willingness to pay the full value of Messi’s release clause but stated that he believes Lionel Messi is destined to become a Barcelona legend.
Lionel Messi signed another contract with Barcelona in September 2005, just three months after his first contract. That extended his commitment to Barcelona until 2014, as well as raising his release clause to 250 million euros.
The 2013-14 season was Lionel Messi’s worst season at Barcelona both personally and collectively.
Barcelona lost the Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo, then Atletico Madrid ended their Champions League ambitions in the quarter-finals and also won the La Liga trophy from them on the last day of the season in front of the Camp Nou.
It was also a season that saw Lionel Messi struggling with injuries, with four different fitness problems that kept him out for more than three months.
There was also the issue of Tito Vilanova’s battle with cancer weighing on Messi, and all of this reportedly caused a feeling of fatigue on Messi’s part, which reportedly led him to consider leaving Barcelona.
Lionel Messi was charged with tax evasion by Spanish authorities, and he and his father/agent Jorge Messi were found guilty of tax fraud in June 2016.
Lionel Messi was sentenced to 21 months in prison, which was later reduced to a fine of 255,000 euros. Lionel Messi has continually pleaded not guilty to the matter and said he felt victimized by the Spanish government.
That same summer, Manchester City reportedly raised inquiries about Lionel Messi, whom the player admits is being seriously considered. The prospect of playing under Pep Guardiola and alongside close friend Sergio Aguero made Lionel Messi contemplate a move to Manchester City. However, that did not happen.
The 2020 summer transfer window starts relatively slowly due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, there is stirring news that Lionel Messi has made an official request regarding his intention to leave Barcelona. It came a week after the club’s humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The media crew tried to find out the intricate details about the development, while the uninformed went straight to finding out about ‘Burofax’.
It appears that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is disillusioned with the way the club is run and cites the perceived betrayal of humiliated former president Josep Bartomeu as the main reason he wanted to leave.
Despite being tied to the club until the summer of 2021, a clause in Messi’s contract gave him the right to terminate his contract and leave free at the end of each season.
Messi’s lawyers are trying to argue that a season extension due to the pandemic means their client still has the right to terminate his contract. But Barcelona insisted that the full value of his release clause had to be paid before the transfer could be sanctioned.
Finally, Lionel Messi reversed his decision and once again proved to be the difference in his final season at Camp Nou.
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