Where to, Leo? Messi’s Contract with Barça Expires Today

Lionel Messi left his native Argentina at the turn of the century, exchanging his position at Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario for one at Barcelona as a youth. Since then, he worked his way up to stardom, becoming one of the best-known footballers of our time. His name is familiar to all football lovers, and even those who are into other sports, from the US to Asia, from FanDuel to Vwin88 sport.

Messi spent his entire senior career playing with Barcelona. Now, in turn, his career comes to a turning point: his contract expires today, so he will become a free agent. Will he continue to play? If so, where?

Career highlights

Messi started playing football at the age of six with the Newell’s Old Boys in his native Rosario. During the six years with the team, he scored almost 500 goals, being part of the team’s nearly unbeatable youth side of children born in 1987. 

His first contract with Barcelona was written on a paper napkin but it was just as valid as any other… and was soon followed by a proper paper. His enrollment into the Spanish Football Federation was delayed for almost two years. But as soon as he could truly show his worth on the turf, the results immediately appeared – he was part of the Infantiles’ best-ever team. 

He joined the senior team in 2003, first playing in Barcelona C, then B, then joining the first team in 2004. Since then, he played in 520 league games, scored more than 470 goals, and won pretty much every accolade possible.

With the Argentine national team, he won Ballon d’Or six times, The Best FIFA Men’s Player in 2019, the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2014, and countless others.

Where to?

Today is the last day Leo Messi plays with Barcelona. Tomorrow, he will be a free agent, free to go wherever he pleases. His reasons for not extending his contract with Barça are many, including falling out with the board members because of the club’s inability to challenge for the biggest titles. For this reason, Messi was ready to leave Barça last summer… but the pandemic turned every plan upside-down. 

This year, there were reportedly improvements big enough for Leo to consider staying at Camp Nou for two more years. Apparently, in turn, the contract expansion was not finalized, with several details still in the works – but it will take some time for them to be worked out, especially due to Messi’s participation in Copa America with the Argentine national team.

If his negotiations with Barça fall through, Messi will still have several options to consider. Last year, when he was bent on leaving, there was strong interest in him from teams like Manchester City, PSG, and Inter, but other clubs like Manchester United and his boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys.