The goals of the week, 29.3.23 (Sport1)
As the days pass, the feeling grows stronger that Barcelona is becoming a clear favorite to bring back Lionel Messi this summer.
The return home to Catalonia would make sense not only because of the longing to close a circle and "fix" the departure in harsh tones of his favorite club in 2021, but also for the simple reason that all the other options on the table do not look very attractive.
The Argentinian star has an option to extend his contract at Paris Saint-Germain for another year, and for that the consent of both parties is required.
Currently, none of them has a real interest in the continuation of the cooperation, which from the beginning was effective only for the needs of the World Cup.
The Qataris, who hosted the most controversial tournament ever, wanted to raise as much as possible the chance that the big star of the winning team would be part of their European project in Paris.
That's why Neymar was signed back in 2017, that's why it was so important to keep Kylian Mbappe at all costs, including the activation of political levers, led by French President Emmanuel Macron.
For this purpose, by the way, Sergio Ramos was also signed, whose removal from the Spanish national team was not in the plans of the Qataris.
Gianluigi Donnarumma was also supposed to be a very strong Qatar card in the World Cup, and they had no idea that Italy would miss the qualification.
The Qataris wanted the winner of the World Cup to play for them, and they achieved the goal.
Messi with the World Cup (Photo: Reuters)
For Messi, it was a very convenient option when he had to leave Barcelona under circumstances that are still not entirely clear.
The only thing that interested him was the preparation for the World Cup, and in that sense Paris Saint-Germain fit him like a glove - even more than Barcelona.
On the one hand, he was able to maintain good playing ability against quite high-quality opponents, and not only in the French league but also in the Champions League.
On the other hand, the results and titles had almost no meaning.
Winning the French championship was not particularly challenging, while in the European arena there was no pressure for Messi, unlike the atmosphere he was used to in Barcelona.
He wouldn't be against, of course, being signed to PSG's first Champions League win - it could have been a nice chapter in his biography, but being eliminated by Real Madrid in the round of 16 last season didn't make him sad.
He was focused on the only real task.
The flea also knew that joining the Qatari project would really not harm Argentina's chances of winning the World Cup.
One would suspect that the hosts and FIFA would aim to maximize the chance of a battle between the two Paris Saint-Germain stars in the final, as it did in the end. Even without going into the various conspiracy theories, it just felt like being on the side with the butter spread - and Messi did the The necessary step for him. After lifting the trophy last December, the Qatari project no longer interests him at all. The move has taken its toll, and is now no longer relevant.
Therefore, even if the two parties are allegedly conducting negotiations, one can get the impression that this is a show to the outside.
In general, Qatar sees Paris Saint-Germain as a tool to improve its image, and because of this, sporting results are much less important in practice.
It is more important that the media talk about the ambition to win the Champions League than the winning itself.
That is why the club's contribution to the regime decreased after the World Cup and now it is possible to turn attention to more ambitious goals, such as trying to take over Manchester United.
Messi has no reason to burn another season in Paris under these conditions.
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His project is not professional enough.
David Beckham (Photo: Reuters)
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Much has been said about the option of moving to Inter Miami, which is owned by David Beckham and is apparently aimed high in the MLS.
It's a possibility that can't be dismissed outright, but it's a bit hard to see Messi agreeing to play under Phil Neville.
The ridiculous statements of the English coach only emphasize the farce: "I will not deny that we are interested in Leo Messi and Sergio Busquets. We want the best players in the world and they meet the definition. In general, since I joined the club we have expressed interest in all the best players in the world. Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves, Robert Lewandowski, Willian, Cesc Fabregas, Luis Suarez. We want them all. We had Gonzalo Higuain and Blas Matuidi, but they retired and we have room for new stars."
This grocery list emphasizes that this is unprofessional conduct and Messi has no reason to go near it, unless he simply wants to move to Florida.
There is also the possibility of a move to Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, from which Messi allegedly demanded a higher salary than what Cristiano Ronaldo receives in Al Nasser.
The thing is that such a move, if and when it happens, will make Messi laugh, present him as a greedy person and put him in the equation with the Portuguese star who moved to Saudi Arabia because he had no other realistic option in Europe.
For the Saudis it will be a resounding success to revive the battle between the two stars on their soil, but for Messi it is a lack of respect and it is assumed that he understands it well.
In the bottom line, Messi has no more appealing and image-wise option than a return to Barcelona.
He will be required to conduct himself differently from the one presented by Ronaldo at Manchester United in order not to fall into a similar crisis, but beyond that, this is exactly the right step - also a return to the roots, also a celebration for the fans who never stopped adoring him, also a reunion with Xavi, with whom he has a relationship Excellent, perhaps also with Busquets who may extend his contract, and also a real possibility of continuing to fight for titles - including the Champions League, which Messi has not won since 2015. If the salary itself is not the most important consideration, the contacts that father Jorge Messi is managing even more today may yield without problems The news that everyone is interested in.
You just have to keep your head above water.
Barcelona president Juan Laporte (Photo: GettyImages, Pedro Salado)
There may be only two obstacles on the way to the realization of this dream, and both of them are related to Barcelona: first, it is not yet exactly clear how the Blaugrana management will deal with the financial rules of the Spanish league - and it will not be easy, as the recent failure to sign Gabi to a professional contract has shown.
Second, and this is probably even more important - the investigation of the gifts to the referees could end in heavy punishments for Barcelona, and in the pessimistic scenario they would not even be able to consider Messi's return because the reality would change greatly to their detriment.
Meanwhile, as long as this battered and bruised club keeps its head above water, Messi's return is a logical possibility - and the announcement could be made before the end of the season.
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