Never say never about anything, but anyone who declared Barcelona and Lionel Messi is something that will last forever is probably not too far from the truth.
Johan Cruyff, someone who is highly regarded in Catalonia, has said that he thinks the arrival of Neymar to the Spanish champions means it’s time to start thinking about moving Messi to another team. According to Cruyff, it’s impossible for these two stars to co-exist, and that Barcelona should never have signed Neymar, as it hurts Messi’s status with the club.
Now that he is in Barcelona, the only thing to do is to move Messi, although he thinks that despite the potential conflicts that might arise – positioning on the field, being the focal point of the offense and even the issue of Nike and Adidas, as Barcelona is a Nike club, and Messi is a Nike player, while Neymar himself is signed with Adidas, could create problems.
But Barcelona won’t sell Lionel Messi. While almost every top footballer in the world succumbs to certain transfer rumors once in a while – for example Cristiano Ronaldo, playing for Real Madrid, can’t go a day without having his name attached to Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain to a lesser degree.
The Barcelona – Messi connection, at least on the outside, seems a lot more unbreakable. Maybe it’s the way the team is run, or maybe it’s Messi himself being a very different person, but the contract negotiations between the sides went swiftly and quietly. The fact that Messi has been accused of evading his tax payments is another issue, that has nothing to do with his ability on the pitch or his relationship with the team.
Are Barcelona different than other clubs? Yes, to a certain extent. Messi isn’t bound for life to Barcelona, and in a scenario where his productions drastically falls off, or the opposite happens – Barcelona themselves succumb to some disappointing years, it wouldn’t be that surprising to see Messi considering other options, or Barcelona starting to look around for potential buyers.
Loyalty doesn’t exist anymore, not in the fullest sense of the word. Players will leave eventually if things get bad enough professionally or financially, or maybe both. Teams are loyal to the their players, as long as they get something out of it. While Barcelona are ‘Mes que un Club’, as they’re so proud of, at some point the business and straight thinking of benefit and rewards comes in to play.
Is Neymar changing the status quo? Hard to tell, but it’s also hard to believe a player of his caliber and simply his mere presence on the pitch won’t call for some changes. It’ll be very interesting to see how he is positioned, and if Messi is going to see other parts of the pitch instead of remaining in the central position he has occupied during his unstoppable rise and scoring spree over the last three years.
Bringing in a superstar like Neymar has its benefits in more than just football, but obviously when it comes to finances, but it also has its risks. The pessimists prediction to this whole affair can see something quite disastrous happening to Barcelona, and if that unlikely scenario does actually present itself for any reason, even Messi won’t be untouchable forever.