Messi speaks out on his future: Copa del Rey victory an important turning point

Robin Bairner
Messi speaks out on his future: Copa del Rey victory an important turning point

Lionel Messi has thrown down the gauntlet to Barcelona to build a competitive team next season, else his future could lie elsewhere, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City interested.

Messi is destined to become the game’s highest-profile free agent ever on June 30, when his deal with Barca is due to expire.

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The Catalans are fighting hard to get the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to commit himself to the club.

Messi, meanwhile, has reiterated that he wants to be at a club where he can hope to enjoy trophy success.

Speaking to Ole, in an interview in which he avoided speaking explicitly about his future, he did, however, underline his competitive spirit.

Messi: I like to win titles – the more the better

“On a personal level, I like to win, and to win titles,” he explained. “And the more the better.

“Whenever I participate in a competition, I always do it to win and I try to achieve all the targets. To win titles.

“The truth is, the last Copa del Rey was special because of the moment we were in. The club is coming out of two difficult years in which we were not well, for difference reasons.

“It’s a very young locker room with a lot of new players. This turning Copa del Rey success was a turning point for the locker room, and a very important turning point.”

Since winning the Copa del Rey, though, Barcelona have faded badly in La Liga and go into Saturday’s final fixture without the possibility of winning the title. Furthermore, the Catalans were knocked out of the last-16 stage of the Champions League and serious doubts having over the future of head coach Ronald Koeman.

With a difficult financial situation, albeit one that is liable to be eased by the imminent arrival of a €500 million loan, Barcelona’s immediate future looks difficult – and even if Messi does sign a new deal, the lack of clout to attract new signings means that there is no guarantee they will be competitive at the highest level.

PSG and Man City can both offer that guarantee, and with Messi leaning on the sporting aspect of any proposals, that could count against Barcelona.