The mighty Barcelona is a soccer club in flux during the 2020-21 season. New coach, Ronald Koeman, has struggled to make an impact on the club, with a switch in style from the traditional 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 causing problems. The resignation of President Josep Maria Bartomeu left a power vacuum at the top of the Catalan club many candidates are hoping to fill. Against this backdrop, the question of Lionel Messi’s future remains a mystery for fans around the world.

The breakdown of the relationship between Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona has taken place over several seasons. One of the candidates for the Presidency of Barcelona, Agusti Bendito, recently stated the Argentinian forward is likely to leave the La Liga club in the summer. The contract of one of the greatest players to play the game will run down over the rest of the 2020-21 season, meaning he is free to sign a pre-contract with a club outside Spain at the start of the January transfer window.

The root of the rift between Messi and the club revolves around the mismanagement of the club by the former President Bartomeu. The club finds itself with a debt of $488 million following a $97 million loss for the 2019-20 season. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has been reported to be unhappy with the business completed by the club as it struggles to cope with a huge wage bill. Recruitment has been difficult for the Catalan club in the last few seasons, with aging stars tied to massive multi-season contracts causing problems. The decision to sell Messi’s close friend and strike partner, Luis Suarez, to Atletico Madrid only added to his unhappiness.