Rivaldo delivers verdict on Leo Messi future

    Brazilian legend Ronaldo has made a bold prediction regarding the future of Barcelona stalwart Lionel Messi.

    It all seemed set for Leo Messi to become a rare professional to spend the entire senior career at a single club – up until the last season. However, a bust-up with the Barcelona regime and Barca’s incapacity to mount serious pressure on major silverware have changed the landscape dramatically. What was perceived as impossible not long ago now appears to be a near-certainty. Speculations about Messi’s desire to part ways with the Catalan outfit first surfaced in the wake of a humiliating 8-2 thrashing to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals.

    A horrendous night at the Estádio da Luz was a tipping point that triggered suspicions about Messi’s commitment to the current hierarchy at Camp Nou. The rumors only intensified during the last summer, with the Argentinean trying to force his way out of Barcelona throughout the entire transfer window. The Blaugrana president Josep Maria Bartomeu has eventually persuaded his standout performer to pledge his allegiance to the club for another season. Unfortunately, Barcelona have continued to struggle under Ronald Koeman and are on the verge of suffering another premature Champions League exit.

    Paris Saint-Germain swept aside Messi and Co on Tuesday night, claiming a commanding 4-1 victory at Camp Nou in the first leg of their last-16 tie. Given the manner in which PSG hammered Koeman’s men in Spain, a return leg at the Parc des Princes should be a mere formality. That frustrating Champions League night probably the best illustrates Barca’s season so far. The Catalans are miles away from recovering the La Liga title, as they currently trail top-placed Atletico Madrid by nine points.

    Messi, on the other hand, has less than six months left on his contract in Catalonia. The 33-year-old has restrained himself from dropping any hints on his future thus far, but a summer departure seems to be well on the cards. Though the Barcelona fans hope Joan Laporta might have the power to convince the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to remain on board until the end of his career, it’s still uncertain whether the Catalonian politician will be the president elected.

    While waiting for the presidential elections to get the epilogue, talks about the Argentina captain’s future continue to frustrate the club’s officials. Last in a long line of ‘Messi-out’ preachers is the ex-Barcelona star Rivaldo. Indeed, the former Brazilian forward has taken the liberty to forecast Messi’s next destination.

    “This may well have been Lionel Messi’s last match for Barcelona at Camp Nou in the Champions League,” Rivaldo said [via Daily Mirror]. “And based on the quality PSG showed the other night, I’m sure he might be thinking about joining them.

    “I want Messi to stay at Barcelona, but I understand why he’d want to leave at the moment when the club is not guaranteeing him good chances of fighting for important titles regularly.

    “He can’t keep taking responsibility for the team on his own. Last summer, he saw Luis Suárez leave in an incomprehensible transfer that has made Atletico Madrid stronger. I believe he will leave the club at the end of the season.”

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