2021. Many players have become free agentes, but he is not just one more. He is one of the best footballers in history and a club´s icon. An academy kid that has climbed all the way up to Barcelona and world´s peak. An Argentinian registered in Catalonia that was happy with the bound he had with an entity which with both fed back each other until one of the parts fell behind. They simply ended on the wrong hands. Management started to be a waterfall of poor decisions that turned into an institutional crisis that will take years to finish. And Messi, in the middle of everything, asked himself during the pandemic if he should pay attention to his head or his heart. He chose the first one in August and the countdown for the final decision has began.
Barça are now paying the price for their nonsenses. The list is large and the patience for the demands that are expected on a big club like this, short. Messi´s too. He said on an interview to Jordi Évole in January that he will not make any decision until the end of the season.
Many say that, even though the club is going down, Messi is not the same one he used to be. That is just 50% right. It is true that Messi does not decide games as he used to, but he is still the best player of the team by far. But, what to do with him? Is it worth it to try to keep him somewhere where he does not want to be, like they did last summer? Was it the right decision? What should the new president do, to try to convince him to stay, or just to thank him for everything he has done for the club? Most of them will bet for the first option, but I only see one person who can, at least, make him doubt: Joan Laporta.
The only way for Messi to think about it is that he can see again something from the club that impressed the entire world by winning for the first time in history the six possible titles in a season which, even though they were conquered on the field, it all started at the office by hiring Guardiola as their coach. Whoever comes, nobody can rebuild a knocked down building in a day, but Laporta was at least part of Messi and Barça´s best times.
The Presidential Elections for Barça were never as crucial as these ones due to the deep reconstruction that the club needs to go through. The new President will be required to clean up the mess, but also to try to convince an Argentinian star who wants to shine at home for one last time.