Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has left the club and is now a free agent. It’s a sentence that no Barcelona fan would ever want to hear, but it’s the truth. The Argentine’s contract with the club he joined as a pimply-faced teenager expired on July 1st, CEST, and he officially became a free agent.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll leave. Barcelona is confident that Messi will extend his contract with the club for another two seasons, but they will admit that the optics of the situation are not ideal. At the very least, it suggests that Messi’s intentions are ambiguous and that he lacks conviction.
Messi, who turned 34 last week, is no longer the player he once was. He is, however, still one of, if not the best, players on the planet. Argentina’s captain is currently competing in Copa America, where he has three goals and two assists in four appearances so far. In 35 appearances with Barcelona last season, he scored 30 goals and added eleven assists.
Even if he leaves.. relive the Messi moments..
Lionel Messi Iconic Barcelona Moments
#1. 91 goals in a calendar year
Between 2012 and 2013, a magisterial Messi scored 91 goals for club and country, with 29 assists thrown in for good measure, making him one of the most impressive individual sporting achievements of all time.
Messi’s remarkable achievement was widely celebrated in January 2013, when he won the Ballon d’Or for the fourth consecutive year, defeating Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta.
#2. 2011 champions league final
At Wembley, the citadel of the beautiful game, Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi faced the great Sir Alex Ferguson in one of the most anticipated Champions League finals of the century.
Messi demolished the Premier League champions with a man of the match performance, securing Blaugrana’s fourth of five European titles to date, and his third of his career.
#3. Sixth Ballon d’Or win
OFFICIAL: LIONEL MESSI WINS HIS SIXTH BALLON D’OR
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 2, 2019
Messi made history once again in 2019, when he won a record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or trophy in Paris, defeating Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk.
The award capped off a memorable year for the forward, who won La Liga, won the European Golden Shoe, and scored the most goals in the Champions League (12), among many other accolades.
#4. Semi-final solo goal
Messi mauled Mourinho’s Madrid in the 2010/11 Champions League semifinals, scoring a superb solo goal as the rest of the world watched in awe.
He received the ball from Sergio Busquets 30 yards from the Madrid goal, beating player after player as he glided into the box to coolly slot past Iker Casillas with three minutes remaining in normal time.
#5. Four goals past Arsenal
Just over a decade ago, Messi inspired a thrashing of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the Champions League, earning him a rare ‘perfect 10’ rating from French football experts L’Equipe.
He racked up one of the best individual performances in tournament history as the Catalans cruised to a 4-1 victory on home soil.
#6. First Barcelona goal
Messi made his first senior goal for Barcelona in May of 2005, kicking off a career scoring spree that has now accumulated over 700 goals.
The teenager, who wore the number 30 jersey, had a chance earlier in the game when he had the ball in the Albacete net but was flagged offside, much to his dismay.
After a quick one-two with Ronaldinho in the opponent’s box, he patiently waited for the ball to bounce before cleverly lobbing it over the keeper and into an empty goal.
#7. The solo goal against Getafe
Messi’s incredible solo goal against Getafe in 2007 is widely regarded as one of his best ever. It is undoubtedly one of the best goals in Spanish football history.
Starting from his own half, the nimble attacker used his exceptional footwork and lightning speed to run past four Getafe outfield players before rounding the keeper to score in style.
#8. Breaking Pele’s record
𝗦𝗶𝘅! 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘆! 𝗙𝗼𝘂𝗿!
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 22, 2020
Messi cemented his place as an all-time great by breaking Pele’s record for most goals scored for a single club. He had already become Barcelona’s and La Liga’s record goalscorer.
When the amazing Argentine scored his 644th career goal against Real Valladolid in the last week of 2020, he surpassed the tally set by the brilliant Brazilian during his time at Santos, from 1956 to 1974.
#9. First hat-trick
A first career hat trick is a momentous occasion for any player, but scoring your first in an El Clasico – and single-handedly keeping your side in the game – is legendary.
Messi’s three goals, which cancelled out two goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy and a header from Sergio Ramos, helped Barcelona come back from behind three times at Camp Nou to earn a point.
His third goal was the best of the bunch, as he unleashed a rocket of a strike on his left foot after dancing through the Madrid defence, leaving Iker Casillas in limbo.
#10. El-Classico last-minute winner
In 2017, Messi delivered yet another magical El Clasico performance, scoring a Bernabeu brace as Barcelona defeated their rivals in spectacular fashion.
He was on hand to cancel out Casemiro’s opener in the first half before both sides scored another goal to tie the game at two goals apiece.
With the score tied deep into stoppage time, it took a moment of brilliance from Barcelona’s legendary forward to settle the match.