Yes, Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona. No, he won’t do it right away.
In an interview with Goal.com, Messi himself confirmed that he will honor his current contract with Barcelona, which means he’s going to play for Barça at least until June 2021.
After being humiliated by Bayern Munich (8-2) in the UEFA Champions League Round of 8, several Barcelona players, including Messi agreed that big changes were needed and those in charge heard them.
Head Coach Quique Setien was fired almost immediately and they signed Ronald Koeman to replace him. Koeman made a short list of players he won’t be counting on for next season: Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Samuel Umtiti.
Including Luis Suarez on that list—one of Messi’s closest friends—ended up causing even more problems than potential solutions; similar to Neymar’s situation a couple of years ago.
Suarez is about to sign with Juventus; Rakitic already signed with Sevilla.
Messi was already thinking about leaving, but after those transfers and being able to choose pretty much any team he wants, he exploded. He told Barcelona’s president that he wants to leave now. But there was a huge problem: the multimillionaire clause on his contract.
Initially, Messi tried to negotiate directly and in a friendly manner, but Barcelona refused all of his propositions.
According to several reports, another huge contract was waiting for him in England, Manchester City was ready to offer Messi a 5-year contract. The first three would be with Manchester City first team, and the last two with New York City FC, their MLS representative.
Juventus, Inter Milan and PSG were willing to negotiate as well, but having Pep Guardiola as their manager and top players like Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne on the squad made Manchester City the favorite.
Barcelona gave Messi “No” after “No,” leaving him with just two options: pay the multimillionaire contract clause or go to trial. This time, Messi was the one who said “No.”
“I’m not going to trial against the team who gave me everything. The club of my life.” – Lionel Messi
What does this mean regarding La Liga odds to win the title?
When everybody thought that Messi was leaving, Real Madrid became the huge favorite in the odds to win La Liga title next season (2020-2021), but now everything changes.
Real Madrid remains as the favorite at -155, but the gap with Barcelona (+165) narrowed and can continue to do so.
Several steps behind appear Atletico Madrid (+750) and Sevilla (+2500).