FC Barcelona – La Liga A major trophy may keep him at Camp Nou
Former Barcelona forward Rivaldo believes that the new Blaugrana board will fail to convince Lionel Messi to stay at the club and the Argentina international will depart the Camp Nou at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
The Barcelona captain asked to be released by the club in the summer, but the former board refused to let him go on a free transfer. Rivaldo has indicated that the Catalan side winning a major domestic or European trophy this season may change Messi’s mind.
“Barcelona had already negotiated some salary cuts with players and also tried to make a general cut that was declined by the squad, so, this is not new for the players,” Rivaldo wrote in his Betfair column. “But it does reinforce the idea that reaching an agreement to renew Messi’s contract is going to be tough with a reduced margin to increase his salary.
“Of course, Messi will have better offers from other clubs, and was already trying to leave the club by the end of last season. I can’t see how our board will convince him to move back on that decision.
“In my opinion, only winning the Champions League or LaLiga this season or having [Ronald] Koeman getting the team playing beautiful football can convince Messi to reconsider his options. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this will be his last season with the club.”
Neymar has been considered as one of Messi’s potential heirs in the event that the Argentine leaves next summer but Rivaldo does not believe that it’s time for his compatriot to return to Barcelona.
“We’ve been hearing some Barcelona presidency candidates say they won’t attempt to sign Neymar after the way he left,” continued Rivaldo, “and even though I consider a return to be possible, I also recognise that this might not be the time for it to happen.
“Additionally, Barcelona will struggle with the financial resources now.
“Neymar seems to be happy at Paris now and is even considering a contract extension, so I don’t see his return to Barcelona happening at the moment or in the near future.”