A day that started with the expectation of an imminent new deal for the legendary superstar quickly turned into something no one saw coming: much like Danny Ings signing for Aston Villa.
In the blink of an eye, the La Liga giants confirmed that their greatest player of all time will leave after 21 years, 778 appearances and 672 goals.
This means the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, 34, is set to join a new club for the first time since leaving Newell’s Old Boys as a child.
Why? How? ‘Or’ What? And after that ? These are just a few of the questions asked by a multitude of guests on talkSPORT, starting with former Madrid boss Calderon.
“It’s a big surprise, we thought he was going to make a deal at Barcelona, but it’s bad news for them and great news for their rivals,” he said.
“Everyone thinks he’s still one of the best, if not the best, player in the world. Barcelona will be weaker and their rivals will have to be happy.
As Barca claim a deal has been made, it is understood that Messi has changed his mind, largely based on the quality of Ronald Koeman’s squad.
One of his transfer requests has reportedly been Argentinian teammate Cristian Romero, who is expected to join Tottenham instead of completing a medical exam in London on Thursday night.
In other words, blame the Spurs.
Calderon added: “In the case of Barcelona, it’s not the money issue. Messi has had a few requests to strengthen the squad, mainly by signing Atalanta defender Romero.
“It seems the main reason. “
And amid reports that Harry Kane could be sold to Manchester City for up to £ 150million, the Lee the Spurs fan has found a brilliant way for Messi to play alongside Romero next season …
“Why don’t we use the money from Kane’s sale to pay Messi’s salary and bring him to Tottenham?” “
Returning to serious business, keeping Messi has been made more difficult by La Liga’s deal with CVC for a £ 2.3bn investment in Spain’s top flight.
This comes with tighter controls on spending, leveling the playing field and giving everyone an equal share of the pie, and most importantly: killing the idea of the European Super League.
Barcelona, along with Real Madrid and Juventus, are still pushing for it – and it looks like the Catalans may have even prioritized Messi.
Spanish football journalist Terry Gibson said: “I don’t think he’s happy with what’s going on in Barcelona.
“Barcelona could easily afford Messi in terms of salary caps, but they are reluctant to do so.
“They will refuse the money offered to them to continue this fight for a Super League.
“I think Messi has realized that if they go down this path, he will go elsewhere. “
Paris Saint-Germain are the big favorites to sign Messi given he is likely one of two clubs that can afford his salary.
The other is Manchester City – who have other plans this summer, just signed Jack Grealish for £ 100million and continue to try for Kane.
According to reports, the 34-year-old is already in talks with the French giants.
“I think he will go to PSG,” added Gibson.
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And what about the Barcelona fans? Well, this story is certainly not over.
“The first reaction was a shock,” Spain football expert Samuel Marsden told talkSPORT.
“The second reaction was disbelief, perhaps believing this to be a game for Barcelona in their La Liga clash.
“Maybe this is just wishful thinking from fans who don’t want to believe that this is the end of their greatest player of all time. ”