There is a sense that it’s too late for all parties now to step back. Everybody has played their hands and nobody wants to look weak. However, it’s 2020, and player power has never been stronger. You get the feeling that Messi will get whatever he wants in the end.
The big question is does he actually want to leave? If so, then it will be difficult to keep him because of the dominance he has over the locker room. But even if his intentions are political, he will still win the battle. At the end of the day, the fans care about Messi, not suits.
Finally, Messi has nothing left to prove in Barcelona. Yes, the team should have been more competitive in Europe over the past few years. But he helped inspire them to a golden era of soccer. During his greatest years under Pep Guardiola, they were a true powerhouse.
If he leaves, fans are unlikely to react badly. At least not in his direction. The man is a living legend and it’s almost impossible to envisage him in another team’s shirt. But that may well be the case. However, he has given Barcelona countless incredible moments.