While it might seem like an impossibility, the summer of 2020 is the likeliest ever summer for a Lionel Messi departure from FC Barcelona. The legend has been linked with the exit door for a few years as the club continues to find their sporting project increasingly hampered by short-termism and a lack of clear decision making.
This has led to numerous problems, not least with Messi considering his long-term future in Spain. Reports in Italy suggest that his father, Jorge, could be set for a meeting with Italian giants Internazionale. Backed by Suning, the Italians have the money to make the deal happen – despite Messi earning a salary in excess of €60m gross. However, a new flat tax rate in Italy means that players can receive a more beneficial salary package in Serie A than they could beforehand.
Messi has made it clear that things must change at Barcelona or he will consider his long-term future with the club. As the fulcrum and the mainstay of Barcelona since his earliest years, it would be a critical blow for the club to see Messi leave.
If reports in Italy are true, though, the fact his father is speaking to other clubs for one of the first times in years should be a clear red flag to Barcelona that something is wrong. The problem is that, such is the severity of the clubs squad issues, solving the issues that Messi desires might be too much for one summer – but is he willing to lose another year of an increasingly short career?