September 23, 2020

Messi, from the napkin to the burofax – La Provincia


Leo Messi no longer wants to continue at Barça. After a long period of reflection, which does not only go back to the days after Bayern 2-8, the Barça captain does not want to continue at the Camp Nou. Tired of chaining several sporting disappointments, especially in Europe (Rome, Anfield and Lisbon), Messi he opens the door of his house to leave. LHe has been in Barcelona for 20 years and he no longer wants to continue, tired as he is of the chaotic sports management of Josep Maria Bartomeu, the president who has been unable to convince him to exhaust his contract until 2021.

Not only that. He has been pushing him, according to Messi, until he was unhinged and made him leave his house. Leo had not spoken since he publicly plotted a unsuccessful truce with Setién to survive in the Champions League, once the League was definitively lost, the title that Valverde’s Barça clung to to resist while failing, year after year, in the Champions. And she wanted to speak through a legal document, something never seen in the stormy relationship with the club.

First Neymar left. Three years ago. It was the prologue of the first, not the last, great disagreement between Messi and Bartomeu. The relationship was deteriorating as the team shrank every season, leaving it increasingly unprotected. Or so Leo felt until the ‘Lisbonazo’ ended with so much doubt, leaving him naked too.

Doubts that were larvae for a long time. It was also missing that Koeman will communicate in a brief telephone conversation with Luis Suárez, his friend of the soul, who did not enter his plans for the new sports project. Messi does not leave because Barça throws the Uruguayan, but it was the alibi he needed to finish making up his mind.

He wants to go because he is already so suspicious of the board, Bartomeu was unable to speak with Suárez to fire him as he deserved, who does not want to leave in a bad way too. He accuses the board of not knowing how to regenerate the team correctly (Dembélé, Coutinho and Griezmann) when, in fact, the problem was with the equipment itself.

Constant fights

He’s tired of being with the board, he only had complicity with Laporta (2003-2010), discouraged to see that they were taking all his friends. And if they could not with him it was not for lack of reasons but because of who he is: Leo Messi.

Behind the Valverde march, who the club fired because I trusted to sign Xavi, the favorite of the squad, and Setién ended up arriving, everything became even more poisoned. Not even the resignation of Abidal, with whom he faced last February, calmed the captain. Those were days of fighting with the board. Sometimes because of espionage; on other occasions, due to the salary reduction. The power was in the locker room and not in the box.

Little by little, and without Bartomeu knowing how to deactivate it, rather it seemed that he was prodding him, Messi found more reasons to leave than to stay.

He has nothing against Koeman, who strongly outlined his plans for the next season. It does not bind anything to the president, as it already happened at the time with Sandro Rosell, who had sought in the signing of Neymar (Summer 2014) the first way to build a project without him.

Crashes with the box

Perhaps the coach has been more forceful with Messi in that appointment last Thursday than any other coach in recent years. Or leader. Forceful, direct and transparent was the Dutch when drawing his idea.

Koeman wants him at Barça, but assuming that everything has changed after 2-8 which he summed up in 90 dramatic minutes for the Catalans, the disintegration of a team that reached the top for the last time in Europe five years ago. Since 2015, everything has gotten worse until taking Messi to goodbye.

Koeman, as the captain knows better than anyone, was not the problem. It had been located in the offices for a long time, as was shown in each renovation that the star was signing. He did only two with Bartomeu in six years. And the second (executed in November, despite being agreed since July), in which a exit clause that expired on May 31, to go free, it cost much more than the first (May-2014, just before the World Cup in Brazil).

Loaded with reasons, and after days of dangerous silence, the captain does not see himself with the strength or enthusiasm to lead the regeneration of Barça from the field, which has lost the essence that made it infallible for a few perfect years. But Xavi left, then Iniesta, his best partners in the field, Neymar fled, they kick Suárez €

Enough arguments for Messi to raise the ‘camp’ of Barcelona, where he has lived longer (20 years) than in his own country (13 years). Although he never abandoned that rosarino accent, which curiously was becoming more noticeable in recent times, linked as he has always been with Argentina, a team that he resigned up to twice. But he always gave up and ended up wearing the albiceleste again.

More time in Barcelona than in Argentina

Messi, who was always master of his destiny, has run out of patience. He is 33 years old and wants to find another adventure. Run away from home. He arrived in silence, he waited days in a hotel in Barcelona’s Plaza España to be tested, signed on a napkin, he was injured right at the start, until his one and only talent unleashed a cool soccer storm that has lasted over 18 years with the azulgrana shirt. The only one who has dressed as a professional. That jacket and Newell’s Old Boys before flying to Barcelona, ​​where debuted with 16 years being welcomed by Ronaldinho, the football smile.

At the Camp Nou he was cradled by the wise and discreet patience of Rijkaard, a honeyed coach who gave him the necessary calm so that the announced gale could express itself. Later he connected with Guardiola to illuminate, together with Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Valdés, Piqué, Busquets, Pedro €, the perfect team. The Barça of 2009.

Then, he felt protected by Tito, the coach who advised him not to leave his home in those stormy days, although cancer cruelly cut off that relationship. After the Tata Martino could not decode it never. Not speaking the same language, despite being both from Rosario. He faced Luis Enrique, upon arrival, but they sealed in the field the triplet of Berlin with his partner of inseparable friends: Neymar, who left in 2017, and Suárez, who leaves in 2020.

De Valverde did not have a single complaint because he understood him. In the field and out. With Setién, however, there was no chemistry. And Koeman? He no longer wants to work at the Camp Nou with anyone, a stadium that he quietly said goodbye to due to the pandemic. With, perhaps, one last photo, that of 2-8 in Lisbon, which caused, not two weeks later, that a burofax arrived at the club’s offices. From the exciting napkin to the burofax of the rupture.

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