Barcelona have a problem brewing with Lionel Messi
There might not be a player in the world who means more to their club than Lionel Messi means to Barcelona. Despite the obvious ties between the two, Messi thinks that another star player is receiving preferential treatment from the club. The Argentine maestro isn’t happy with financial support Neymar has received lately.
In particular, Messi and his representatives are unhappy that the club elected to fund Neymar’s recent legal defense. Per Don Balon, officials at Barcelona haven’t committed to giving Messi the same sort of support. The story claims that Messi not only wants his legal defense paid for by the club, but he also expects them to be successful as they were with Neymar.
Evidently, this is the one issue that could prevent Messi from signing a bumper new contract with the club. It’s unthinkable to me that he’d be allowed to move, but I suppose stranger things have happened.
The real surprise in all this is that Barcelona haven’t jumped to fund Messi’s legal defense. If they already set the precedent by paying Neymar’s attorney fees, there’s zero reason to delay doing it for Messi. Even suggesting that the club might not pay his legal fees would be a ridiculous mistake by club officials.
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You can safely assume that Messi’s legal fees pale in comparison to the revenue he brings to the club. The diminutive Argentine is literally the most popular football player in the world. Covering his legal expenses would only cost the Catalan giants a fraction of the money they make on Messi kit sales every year.
The more likely reality here, is that Messi is desperately trying to maintain his dominance at the club. He understands that his age will cause his game to start to slip in the near future. By the same token, Neymar’s age will allow his game to grow and develop over the same period of time.
It’s a classic example of a player making a preemptive play to maintain control over his club even when he ceases to be the best player. The only difference here is that Messi is doing his work in advance of his skills slippage. It’s a crafty move off the pitch for one of the most history’s most clever players on the pitch.