It is rare that a topic that has not even come close to fruition on any occasion can find traction years after initially landing on the scene. In order for a story that is reported and then fades away without any truth or evidence to support it to last, at least in the soccer universe, the subject has to be of massive importance. In my lifetime, only two players have been involved in this type of situation. The first, was Cristiano Ronaldo and his courtship with Real Madrid…which, we all know how that ended up. The second, and current subject, is the talk of Lionel Messi departing Barcelona.
Now, while there is no concrete evidence or real culture of belief that Messi will ever ply his trade anywhere except in Catalonia, the world is currently rife with rumors that the Argentine wonder will be leaving Barcelona. While the thought of Messi playing with another club would seem like a simple enough proposition given his outstanding talents, it is something that resonates with a bit of difficulty about it. Why? Well…
First, is a team really prepared to give Messi the support and playing style that Barcelona has given him over the past several years? While it is simple to change formations and roles on EA Sports FIFA15, real-life is a completely different animal. While Messi’s greatness is unquestioned, it took Argentina until this past summer to realize that their best strategy is to build around their #10 and to create the atmosphere that makes him the most comfortable. For Barcelona, it is easy as their passing style fits well with what Messi thrives on, but can any other club create that type of situation?
Second, can you imagine that amount of transfer money it would require to put Messi in your team’s kit? With FFP holding some sway in Europe, it feels unlikely that any team could satisfy any demand that Barcelona may have. Considering Messi’s age, his meaning to Barcelona, his marketability, and a million other intangibles, the transfer fee would probably top 150 million (in any possible currency). What club is willing/capable/allowed to spend that much money to make Messi a member of their squad? While the financial gain after two seasons of jersey sales would probably even it all out, the initial payment rules out 99% of all the clubs in the world. And the ones left? Well, you look someone in the eye and try and tell them that Messi would join Real Madrid…see how long they can keep a straight face.
There could be another few paragraphs on if Messi could have the same success in a different league, but the recent greatness of Messi has proven such (especially in the Champions League) that he truly seems like he would be a force on any club on the planet. While it would be a dream to see him play in England or any of the other major leagues, it just has so many pieces to the supposed transfer possibility that it still seems the most likely scenario that Messi does not leave Barcelona until he is deep into his 30’s. But, still…..wouldn’t it just be so much darn fun if he left?