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Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona?

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Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona?

The club president is not due to step down for another year but the captain’s refusal to sign a contract extension is likely to change things

Lionel Messi never used to say much. As a kid, he was famously introverted.

Even after establishing himself as the best player in the world, Messi shunned the limelight. He was always content to let his football do the talking for him, and it spoke volumes.

Things have changed, though. Dramatically.

Since the turn of the year, Messi has felt compelled to make his voice heard.

When Eric Abidal suggested that Barcelona’s players were responsible for the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde in January, the club captain issued a sharp rebuke.

When it was reported in the Catalan press that the squad was reluctant to accept a coronavirus-related pay cut, Messi suggested that those stories were coming from inside the club.

These were hugely significant public statements from such a private person.

Lionel Messi has yet to respond to Cadena SER’s claim that he could leave Camp Nou when his contract expires next summer – but that in itself is telling.

Indeed, the silence is deafening.

Messi does not want to leave Barcelona – but he is immensely frustrated with how the club is presently being run. The suspension of talks over an extension is evidence of his dissatisfaction.

Make no mistake about it: this is a deliberate move on Messi’s part; a vote of no-confidence in Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

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