Lionel Messi has left Barcelona and become a free agent. It’s a sentence Barcelona fans will have never have wanted to have read, but it’s the truth. As of July 1st, CEST, the Argentine’s contract with the club he joined as a pimply-faced teenager expired and he officially entered the market as a free agent.
That doesn’t mean he’ll leave, of course. Barcelona remain confident that Messi will renew his contract with the club and continue for another two seasons, but won’t deny that the optics of the situation are far from ideal. At the very least, it hints to a degree of ambiguity in Messi’s intentions, a lack of conviction.
Messi is 34 as of last week, and isn’t the player he was at his peak. He’s still, however, one of if not the best player in the world. The Argentina is currently at the Copa America leading his country, and has scored three goals and contributed two assists in four appearances so far. With Barcelona last season, he hit 30 goals and contributed eleven assists in 35 appearances.