April 10, 2021

‘Messi won’t have made Barcelona exit call’ – Rivaldo not buying transfer talk

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The Blaugrana legend can understand why an Argentine superstar may be frustrated, but doubts that he has taken the decision to move on

Lionel Messi is unlikely to have made a definitive decision on his future at Barcelona, claims Rivaldo, with the transfer talk that continues to rage at present being fuelled by emotion rather than fact.

A talismanic presence at Camp Nou is said to be mulling over his options after seeing the Blaugrana lurch from one crisis to another.

On the back of surrendering the Liga title to Clasico foes Real Madrid, Barca were then dumped out of the Champions League in spectacular fashion as they suffered an 8-2 quarter-final defeat to Bayern Munich.

Quique Setien has become the first casualty of that humbling reversal, with another change being made in the dugout, with the expectation being that a serious refresh will be overseen in Catalunya.

Messi may form part of that, as he is yet to commit to a contract extension beyond 2021, but Rivaldo is not convinced that the Argentine has already decided to move on.

The Barca legend told Betfair: “It’s normal that a lot of things go through your mind after an 8-2 loss and Messi may have considered that for a moment that it was time to leave Barca. But he wouldn’t take such an important decision without reflecting and all these rumours of his potential departure were clearly to destabilise the club a bit more.

“I’m sure that he was sad and hurt after that result, but he is very grateful to the club for all it has done for him, and his life is rooted in the city. When he eventually leaves football, he will live in Barcelona.

“I don’t think he would take such a decision without talking with the board first, after all, this is an old partnership that has been very successful through the years.”

Departures, whether they include Messi or not, appear inevitable at Camp Nou in the current transfer window.

Change is clearly required at Barca and Rivaldo is looking for the club to right their wrongs as quickly as possible – on and off the field.

The Brazilian World Cup winner added: “During this season, Barcelona had some poor performances, but the loss to Bayern was clearly the worst. Early in the match, it was easy to see they were nervous and committing too many atypical mistakes.

“Even the goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen – who is one of the most reliable players in the team – started missing some easy passes. Barca couldn’t cope with Bayern’s high press. The result was one of Barca’s worst performances in many years.

“It was a chaotic match that Barca’s players will try to forget, but they certainly feel ashamed, so it’s normal that many rumours have been circulating about players leaving the club as well as a managerial change.

“Even the president Josep Maria Bartomeu could be leaving soon and it seems like he will call for elections in March 2021. As I always say, Barcelona is not a club run by any single person – people pass through but the club remains – so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a presidential change soon. Bartomeu’s position is now very delicate after an awful season.”