After Tuesdays defeat to Paris Saint Germaine in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League knockout stage, I’m sure this question will be heavy in the mind of most Barca fans. Former Barca President and current presidential candidate, Joan Laporta all but agrees that the task of keeping Lionel Messi at the club now is a herculean task. Again, when one takes a retrospective look at the transfer fiasco between FC Barcelona and their star player earlier in the season, reality starts to get clearer.
At this point, one cannot jump to conclusion at the moment since anything can happen in the second leg. However, one must face reality first before creating the fantasies and dreaming of a possible comeback in France by March. The 4 – 1 loss to Paris Saint Germaine is a familiar story. The story is not just familiar at this point; it is currently synonymous with FC Barcelona. For the past four seasons, Barca have capitulated on their wide leads and ended up being dumped out of the Champions League or went into a shock and got battered by a better balanced opponent. In each of these games, Messi and his teammates have watched in horror, helpless and battered as better teams in Europe tore them to shreds.
Tuesday night 1 – 4 loss to PSG will only have added to whatever feeling Messi may be having about the squad and the club at the moment. Even though the Argentine has not said anything else about his future of recent, one cannot help but wonder what will be next for the six times World Best Player.
The truth is, Barca doesn’t want to recognize the defensive frailty and deficit that has contributed to this consistent blight in the club’s seasonal campaigns. If they had recognized this, the club would have pulled all stops to at least correct this deficit. If a team is conceding too much, then there can only be one major central focus to upgrade against all odds. A football team is supposed to be balanced across all positions. Excellent forwards like Lionel Messi should be the icing on the cake, something Pep Guardiola recognized quite early in time.
I may not want to think about it, but the reality is that the loss against PSG has brought further the suppressed realization that Messi may leave Barca this summer.