Friday’s 8-2 humiliation against Bayern Munich will undoubtedly see heads roll at Barcelona, from dead man walking Quique Setién to the elderly cohort of Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Luis Suárez and Ivan Rakitić.
But the biggest question mark remains the future of Lionel Messi, who dictates his own future following the most humiliating defeat in Barça history.
There’s no questioning the 33-year-old’s loyalty after 16 years with the senior side, and his willingness to return to the Argentina fold following a Round of 16 elimination at the 2018 World Cup speaks to his fighting character.
Still, his window for winning a sixth Champions League medal is closing rapidly, and it’s closing at a pace that probably outstrips Barcelona’s ability to assemble a genuine contender. It’s no secret that Messi’s trust in the board and president Josep Maria Bartomeu has deteriorated over the last couple years, and it appears as though the Bayern match has proven the final straw — this coming from respected Brazilian journalist Marcelo Bechler.
According to Bechler — the reporter who broke Neymar to PSG — Messi wants to leave Barcelona immediately.
Atenção para a notícia: Messi quer deixar o Barcelona. Não em 2021. Agora. pic.twitter.com/XTcJwYIa2s— Marcelo Bechler (@marcelobechler) August 16, 2020
Messi’s current contract runs until June of 2021 and there’s a release clause of nearly $830 million. However, if Messi himself demands a transfer then there’s not much Barcelona can do besides the negotiation of a relatively fair transfer fee with the club that the Argentine wishes to join.
All the latest reports say that club is Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.