Lionel Messi will no longer continue at Barcelona, read the headline of one of the most surreal club comunicados that has ever been published.
The Argentine had returned from Ibiza the previous day in order to sign his new contract at Barcelona, having been out of contract for 35 days. News began to break early in the afternoon that Messi would not be renewing his contract and by the early evening, Barcelona had confirmed it.
The 5th of August 2022 denotes an entire trip around the sun since that happened, one of the most iconic moments in Barcelona’s history, for all the wrong reasons. Three days later, Messi was still struggling to process the news, as was the rest of the football world. Marca provide the quote.
“It is the most difficult moment of my sporting career. When they told me, I blocked up. It was a jug of cold water. I have had many hard and difficult moments, but this… I feel a lot of sadness, I didn’t expect it.”
How times change. Barcelona decided they could not do the deal due to their financial situation, but have been spending heavily this summer as the club tries to regain its position in the footballing hierarchy.
It has not been lost on many that the star signing of this rebuild, Robert Lewandowski, is due to be officially presented on the same day. Equally, in recent weeks President Joan Laporta has explained he would love to bring Messi back to Barcelona.
Regardless of how many times he pulls on the Paris Saint-Germain shirt, or how many stars arrive to fill the void he left, Messi’s presence in European football anywhere that isn’t Barcelona will always be a stain on the club.