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Chaos at Barcelona: What does Messi’s decision mean for the club?

Adithya Eshwarla



Header Image by Jorge Guerrero / AFP via Getty Images

After two haywire weeks in Catalonia, Lionel Messi has finally come open about the events that unfolded. The Argentine announced that he would continue at Barcelona for another season, albeit against his will. Still, what does the decision from Messi mean for Barcelona and Ronald Koeman?

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Barcelona faithful. Frenzied days coupled with sleepless nights, rolling about in the turmoil of the mayhem at the club. Repeated checks into social media and an overload on translator tools to decipher various media leaks were the routine. The confusion at the club divided the fanbase like never before. However, it was all put to bed by one man, and his one interview.

Friday was the day the Lionel Messi finally gave a public statement. He reiterated the fact that his intention to leave was genuine. In what was a rather extraordinary 20-minute interview with Goal, Messi took down the Barcelona board ruthlessly. The same board that turned this faithful son of Catalonia against the club of his life. The pain could be seen in his eyes every time he said the words “I wanted to leave”. Yet, the fact remains that Messi is staying for another year. Not out of his will, but because he had no other option.

“I only want to work with players who want to be here and if they are not happy let them say it”

Ronald Koeman, in his presentation as the new Barcelona manager

Messi repeatedly said that, despite the occurrences of the past few weeks, he would continue to fight for the team with the same zeal. Moreover, it would be foolish of one to imagine otherwise. Nonetheless, this season will not the same as his last 20 years at the club. For the first time in his tenure, he feels forced to play against his will. Additionally, he will not have the familiar faces of his friends Arturo Vidal or Luis Suárez around. With so many new faces and a new coach, to what extent will Messi be able to replicate his success?

“I will continue at Barcelona and my attitude will not change, no matter how much I have wanted to leave”

Lionel Messi

The Argentine’s decision will undoubtedly come as music to Ronald Koeman‘s ears. The impact of this decision, though, is not just on one player. It threatens to bring about 18colossal changes in the Dutchman’s plans.

Koeman had centred his project around one sole objective: “Rejuvenate from the grassroots”. And through the swift progress in departures of Ivan Rakitić, Suárez and Vidal, he has reasserted his motive. The rich mines of La Masía and the plentiful youth signings seemed to have caught the coach’s eye. Koeman seemed eager to play the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho in their natural positions, bringing the most out of them. The project ahead seemed to have minimum involvement of the heavyweights of the dressing room. With a healthy system of competition planned, selection finally seemed purely merit-based.

Having the world’s best player should ideally never mean a problem. Notwithstanding, having Messi in the dynamics necessitates the building of the entire team around him. The likes of Griezmann and Coutinho can no longer play in their natural positions. Neither Ousmane Dembélé nor Francisco Trincão can hope for a chance to shine on the right-wing. Furthermore, having him in the team may once again bring about that dreaded complacency in the squad. That very dependency on one player that has chewed the club up in recent years. When the one player that everything revolves around himself feels out of place, it cannot be a good sign.

Lionel Messi decision Barcelona

While keeping Messi, Barcelona must think further ahead too | Photo by Filippo Monteforte / AFP via Getty Images

As unbelievable as it sounds, maybe this was the right time for Lionel Messi to step out of the club. Undoubtedly, the history books would not remain kind to him for an exit after arguably his worst season. Still, Barcelona could do with the money. In addition, the gloom after a disastrous season might have been the perfect environment for a rebuild.

There seemed to be no expectations from the next campaign, especially if the best player in the world had left. A year with minimal expectations would have done a world of good for Barcelona to find a novel formula. And for Lionel Messi himself, he could have had a real shot at the Champions League and a glorious swansong under Pep Guardiola.

The club is desperately in search of a new direction. The news of Messi staying another year in music to culés‘ ears. This season will be more about Messi than it has ever been. After all, it could well be his final showing in the blaugrana colours.

With that being said, Koeman must also look in the long term concurrently. Having Messi start every game might put the team in a world of pain next season. Seeing stars slowly being phased out is nothing new to the Barcelona faithful. Just as Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta had incredible final seasons despite not being involved in every minute of the action, Koeman must look to do the same with Messi, whether or not this is the end for him.

Every single Barcelona fan had come dangerously close to accepting the future without the Argentine. What once seemed unfathomable is now the reality. This could, or could not, be the season when Barça and its fans do it all one last time for the man that dedicated his life to the club, whilst parallelly building a team that can compete without him. It is a monstrous task, but it can and will be done. For Messi and for Barcelona.

I’ve watched football for years, but never again felt that special tug that I experienced when I watched Barcelona play for the first time. What started off as just a little inquisitiveness on Quora, ultimately developed into a magnificent passion for writing articles. The best part: You never stop learning in football; and it never ceases to amaze you.

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Effective leadership of Messi: If you want to be followed, give credit not blame.

Maha Naeem Khan



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Lionel Messi’s effective leadership has been representing the Catalans for years now with pride and loyalty. He is not only the greatest footballer but arguably one of the best leaders any team could desire for. Messi’s personification of self-confidence and his perpetual attempts to backing the team is nonpareil. The Blaugrana captain is a leader who plays with the heart on his sleeves. No matter how crucial the circumstances were, he has proven himself to be the strength of the Catalans. During the club’s instability, merry-go-rounds of transfers and constantly increasing managerial issues; Leo’s leadership qualities remained static. 

One-man show within a team

The Argentine is an industrious forwarder who is nevertheless a key asset for FC Barcelona but at the same time: he is the best Captain as well. He has been lifting the club on his shoulders reaching to the heights of success for quite a while now. However, besides being a one-man show, Messi never took credit for the games FC Barcelona won because of his efforts alone. He has performed tirelessly to win trophies and set an example of effective leadership.

During Messi’s captaincy, FC Barcelona has won many titles and trebles. The majority of them were possible because of the magic show by this crazed-runner striker. Yet, the talisman never took pride, left his performance aside, and continued motivating his team to do better.

Initially, the Barcelona superstar wasn’t as vocal as he is now. But that didn’t make him a weak leader as on various occasions he displayed effective leadership traits. The recent one was his reaction to Abidal’s comments followed by the whole Board Saga.

Give credit, not blame

In recent times, the whole team was crunched and Messi was found battling alone relentlessly to win the match. Even then, he ends up giving the credit to the whole team for the victory. This became a problem for the Catalans lately as the whole team relies on their Messiah to win the match. In a way, this has affected the team productivity to a great extent. Despite that, the Captain never complained about the team’s overall bad performance. Instead, he always carried his legacy gracefully not blaming the teammates, no matter how disappointing circumstances were. This attitude of not whining over the team’s poor performance and looking forward to the ways to improve showed Messi’s effective leadership throughout the years.

Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Focused on team goals, rather than personal achievements

Messi is enriched with passion, guts, and determination. Without a doubt, he is a fearless leader and a tremendous captain. His priority has always been his team’s overall objectives and ways to let the club grow and move forward. People can vouch for his ability to put personal achievements aside and focus on the team goals invariably. Being one of the greatest footballers of all-times, La Pulga has won uncountable individual awards for performing exceptionally good. However, he never let personal preferences overshadow the aims of FC Barcelona. According to him;

“When the year starts the objective is to win it all with the team, personal records are secondary.”

– Lionel Messi


Some people underestimate the impact of giving credit to their fellowmen and teammates. Lionel Messi’s life is an epitome of moral and ethical values. People envy him and at the same time, they wish to be like him. By giving credit to others he made himself look like a bigger person. He always has a goal to recognize the accomplishments of his team. His motto seems to be ‘Neither blame nor take credit. This is the reason why a lot of people follow him blindly. He has gained the trust of his teammates and other footballers by trusting in their abilities in the first place.

In today’s world, the winning-mentality and sense of achievement take over one’s moral and ethical values. Blame games never lead a person anywhere. Messi has set an example of a leader who is sacrosanct. This gives us a lesson for becoming an effective leader and how to be followed. A leader whose words become too important to be trifled with and instructions are too valued to neglect! 

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