forbes: Approaching the weekend, an exclusive interview with Lionel Messi has sent shockwaves through Catalonia and other soccer-loving parts of the world.
Finally given the chance to speak out on a wide range of subjects that have engulfed the club in controversy – such as his row with sporting director Eric Abidal, the ‘Barçagate’ social media scandal and the firing of Ernesto Valverde – the FC Barcelona captain was also frank in his admissions regarding its chances of success on the continent.
Put simply, the Ballon d’Or winner does not believe, at present, that Quique Setien’s men have what it takes to go all the way to Istanbul and lift the big-eared trophy on May 30.
“If we want the Champions League, we have to grow, and a lot. Today we are not enough as we are,” he confessed to the sports daily newspaper.
“We have to be more regular in our game, grab all these new ideas that we are [trying to] implement as soon as possible, be more reliable, not make the silly mistakes that we make and have been making throughout the year, not commit to what happened to us in Rome or Liverpool, where we left the game and it seemed that we disconnected and what happened to us happens …” he stressed.
In the same sitdown chat, Messi also declared his future to the outfit he has been at with since 13 years of age by stating: “I’ve already said many times that my idea is that [to stay at Barça], [and] as long as the club and people continue to want that from me there will never be any problem. I also said many times that I would like to be there if we are all good – the club – [and] people are happy with the team there is, that there is a winning project and that we continue to opt for all the titles as we always did at this club. That is my idea, to stay at this club. I want to win another Champions League, I want to continue winning La Ligas and I always aspire to that.”
Additionally commenting on the qualities of Lautaro Martinez and Neymar, it is believed that their captures in the summer will help him achieve this, while simultaneously he pointed out that, due to their two-year ban, “many players may look for an exit” from Manchester City if they cannot play in the Champions League – a “very attractive” competition which being unable to contest leaves the Sky Blues “screwed”.
By failing to build a team around him that can compete however, it is still not a given that Messi will choose to see out all his twilight years at the Camp Nou while still free to walk in June.
Refusing to pen an “indefinite” contract to evade this unthinkable possibility, it has been rumoured he will lean towards a year-by-year deal akin to Andres Iniesta which leaves the exit door ajar.
Source: Published by forbes