How long did messi play for barcelona ? Lionel Messi will officially not be playing for Barcelona anymore. The 6-time Ballon d’Or winner made his debut for the senior Barcelona side in 2004 and spent 17 wonderful seasons with the club at the very top level.
Winner of an incredible 34 major trophies, Messi leaves the club with a rich legacy. A true legend of the game and Barcelona’s greatest ever player, Messi enjoyed a long and fruitful association with the Catalan giants.
Although Messi only made his senior debut in 2004, the Argentine moved to Barcelona in early 2001 after impressing the Barcelona directors in a trial in December 2000.
Barcelona even paid for Lionel Messi’s growth hormone treatment as the Argentine learned the ways of the club and the style of play in their famed La Masia academy. Messi enjoyed a rapid rise to senior football and made his debut for both Barcelona C and Barcelona B in the 2003-04 season before graduating to the main team in the 2004-05 season.
What followed was pure magic as Messi broke record after record at Barcelona, winning multiple La Liga titles and UEFA Champions League trophies. Lionel Messi has scored an incredible 672 goals in 775 games and is the club’s record goalscorer.
Where will Lionel Messi play next season?
Lionel Messi’s availability will have alerted all the top clubs in Europe but only a few clubs will be able to afford the wages of the 6-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are both financially capable and could make a move for the legendary Argentine in the coming days. The prospect of seeing either Lionel Messi and Neymar reuniting or Pep Guardiola and Messi reuniting is certainly a tantalizing one. But wherever Lionel Messi plays next season, it will be strange to see him in a club jersey other than that of Barcelona.
How many seasons has Lionel Messi played for Barcelona?
The Rosario-born player has become arguably the biggest figure to have ever worn the Blaugrana colors. With ten La Liga titles under his belt, four Champions League trophies, and many more individual and team accolades were part of Messi’s memorable years at the Camp Nou.
As a professional player, Lionel Messi has played for 16 straight seasons with Barcelona, as he joined the first team in the 2005/06 season and kept on playing until 2020/21. If we consider his time at the club’s academy, Messi has been at Barcelona for 21 years. He has achieved impressive feats on the way, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time.
How old was Lionel Messi when he joined Barcelona?
Before becoming the club legend he is nowadays, Messi has had to go through a long way. However, he already stood out when he played in the youth teams of Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys, and caught the attention of scouts who saw in him a promising talent.
Lionel Messi joined Barcelona when he was 13 years old, first for a trial, and went on to earn a place in La Masía, the club’s academy. From then on, there was no turning back and the Catalans saw how the young Argentinian kid ended up being one of the best in history.
Why did Messi leave Barcelona in 2021: How it happened
On one fine evening on August 5, 2021, Barcelona announced via their social media that Lionel Messi was leaving as a free agent and that he couldn’t be registered with the league because of their dire economic problems. The tweet sent shockwaves around the world of football as nobody could see it coming. Not even the players and teammates of Messi in Barcelona.
Frenkie De Jong, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets all thought it was a joke at first while Sergio Aguero, who had signed with the club that season partly with the idea of spending his last few years playing alongside his best friend Messi at club level, insisted on a live stream that the club website must’ve been hacked.
However, after some time, the reality dawned on everyone. Spontaneously and out of the blue, Barcelona fans seemed to be struck by lightning.
Messi’s departure was all the more surprising given that the player had recently agreed on terms to sign a new two-year deal with Barcelona and had even decided to reduce his salary by 50% in order to help the club out economically. His previous contract had expired on June 30 and on August 5, Messi along with his family and his father, Jorge, who also serves as his agent, landed in Barcelona from vacation with the intention of renewing his contract as soon as possible.
“Messi was certain he was staying,” a dressing room source told ESPN. “He had spoken with people about getting back to work after signing the contract. That never happened. The president didn’t live up to his word. He promised Messi would be able to sign, but it fell through. The summer before, with the Burofax [transfer request], Messi was convinced he wanted to leave. His mind was made up. He stayed when he wanted to go and he left when he wanted to stay.”
On August 8, Barcelona held a press conference for Messi where the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner cried his eyes out on having to bid goodbye to the club of his life. He had spent 21 years with Barcelona since arriving from Argentina as a teenager and was both the leading appearance-maker for the club as well as its record goal-scorer, scoring 672 goals in 778 games.
Lionel Messi had achieve tremendous success, taking Barcelona to new heights. With him, the club won four Champions League trophies and 11 La Liga titles, among a whole host of other silverware.
The economic reasons behind Messi leaving Barcelona
The irony is that Lionel Messi had actually wanted to leave Barcelona in 2020 because of what he perceived as continuously incompetent management of the club and perceived lies of the former board led by President Josep Maria Bartomeu. Messi was close to signing with Manchester City and had even sent a burofax to the club, informing them about this. However, the board refused to grant his request to depart, and he ended up staying because he didn’t want to take his beloved club to court.
New presidential elections were held and former President Joan Laporta, under whose presidency Messi had made his first-team debut in 2003, was re-elected on the promise that he would do everything possible to renew the Argentine superstar.
However, when Laporta actually took charge, he realised that the economic situation was much worse than he had anticipated. The La Liga club needed to borrow a substantial loan from Goldman Sachs just to meet payroll requirements for that summer, and they posted losses of €487m in 2020-21.
As a result, it became apparent that registering Messi at Barcelona was going to become a major problem. Laporta hadn’t expected La Liga’s financial fair play regulations to be so strict. Although the intention from both parties was to sign a new contract, it was revealed that Messi’s new contract wouldn’t be registered with La Liga not because the club was in debt, but because those debts contributed to a reduced spending cap.
All clubs in La Liga have a maximum spending cap implemented on them in order to keep terms with Financial Fair Play. As a result, the club’s was reduced by over 83 per cent and it went from almost €600m to under €100m at the start of the 2021/22 season. It implied that the club was permitted to spend only 25 per cent of what they saved, which is now known as the 1/4 rule of La Liga. Because of these reasons, Messi’s contract, even with a 50% pay cut, couldn’t be registered with La Liga and he had to leave Barcelona.
It was also reported that there was one way out for the club and Messi. La Liga president Javier Tebas had communicated to Laporta that they would have provided Barcelona with more salary space if they had accepted an agreement with CVC. The deal was that the company would provide over €200m in exchange for 10% of their television rights for 50 years, a deal that almost all clubs in La Liga besides three teams signed.
However, President Joan Laporta viewed it as mortgaging the future of the club and decided that nobody, not even the greatest player in history Lionel Messi was above the team. Messi also couldn’t lower his salary any further or play for free because La Liga rules prevent that form happening in order to avoid any financial fraud or wrongdoings.
“The salary can be lowered, but due to the financial control rules, each player has a margin for a reduction depending on different variables, such as age, experience and titles,” a league spokesman told ESPN. “So you can neither play for free, nor with a ‘lower’ wage than what should correspond to said player in a normal market. This is essentially to avoid fraud and ensure that the salary is paid via the correct tax routes and not with ‘intangible’ money.”
How Messi leaving FC Barcelona impacted the club
Given the number of years that he had spent with the club and the trophies he had won, it was obvious that Messi was not only the captain and face of the club but was also the leader and commander of the dressing room. Everyone felt his presence and aura and revered and respected him for the genius he was.
Apparently, his departure was a huge blow for every teammate. “The first session without him was like a funeral. It was like the day after it was revealed Guardiola was not going to stay on as coach [in 2012]. There was silence, no joking around. People didn’t believe what was happening,” said a coaching source to ESPN.
Over several days and weeks, however, the atmosphere started to relax more and the tempo of the training sessions started varying. Their start to the league last season was horrendous and Barcelona were also relegated to the Europa League which led to manager Ronald Koeman being sacked and Messi’s former teammate Xavi being appointed as head coach.
Although results improved gradually towards the second half of the season, including the 4-0 win over eventual league and European champions Real Madrid, Barcelona still struggled and ended the season without silverware.
Since then, they raised over €700m by selling club assets which allowed them to sign and register the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, and Franck Kessie this summer. However, Barcelona still miss Messi’s presence and his crucial match-winning abilities which is evident in the fact that in both the seasons without him, they have dropped down to the Europea League from the Champions League.
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