While Lionel Messi is enjoying his vacation to the hilt, the football world remains on tenterhooks whether the best player on the planet will really stay with his beloved FC Barcelona or not.
Barca officials, according to ESPN, have reportedly “reached an agreement in principle” for Messi to sign a new five-year contract.
The problem is that the Catalan club, which is mired in €1.2 billion in debt, needs to abide by La Liga regulations to trim its massive salary bill in light of several new signings.
That means, before Messi can sign on the dotted line, the club needs to offload players first during the ongoing transfer window that closes on Aug. 31.
So as Barca wheels and deals with players’ contracts, Messi, ironically, will have to wait in the sidelines as far as his Barca future is concerned.
Anything can still happen in the next few weeks, but Messi, who has agreed to a “significant pay cut,” looks like he wants to stay with the club he grew up with.
If not for the pandemic, Messi could have named his price before any club that wanted his services.
It is just phenomenal that at the age of 34, Messi was the La Liga’s top scorer before winning his first major trophy for Argentina that finally, after decades of waiting, won the Copa America under his leadership earlier this month.
Another ageing phenom whose future is “uncertain” with his current club is the 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, who just won the Golden Boot at the European Championship for Portugal.
English football giants Manchester United both want Ronaldo back, but so do its rivals Manchester City.
A top official of Juventus, on the other hand, reportedly said the Portuguese forward is staying with them in the Serie A.
Juventus is Ronaldo’s fourth club as a professional footballer, after Sporting Lisbon, United and Real Madrid.
His fans will have a month or so of waiting to see if Ronaldo stays put or moves again.
That said, it is just incredible that the two best players in the world right now are supposed to be in the twilight of their careers, and yet both Messi and Ronaldo continue to dominate global football in a manner no one has witnessed before.
Fortunate are the clubs who get to keep them.