Barcelona are starting to put plans into place for life after Lionel Messi.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has a plan for when Lionel Messi finally leaves the club, claims Spanish football expert Guillem Balague. At 32, Messi is still leading the way for Barcelona in terms of goalscoring and is the leading marksman in La Liga this season with 19 goals. But the Argentine’s future at the Nou Camp has been in doubt in recent months, with his contract currently set to expire in the summer of 2021.
Balague says Bartomeu wants to start bringing former Barca players back to the club in some capacity, though legendary midfielder Xavi returning as manager looks unlikely at the moment.
A current player Bartomeu wants to return is Brazil superstar Neymar, who left for Paris Saint-Germain three years ago for a world-record transfer fee of £200million.
But Balague says Barca’s plan could change if Bartomeu is not re-elected in the presidential elections next year.
“There is a plan [for when Messi leaves],” Balague said on his YouTube channel.
“It depends who will be the leader of that plan. So Bartomeu, the president of Barcelona, will like to continue this idea of bringing some of the former Barcelona players to the club.
“They tried it with Xavi, it didn’t work, I think that bridge is broken at the moment. There’s a lack of trust between both sides.
“When they tried to get rid of Valverde they approached Xavi and what came out from those two meetings were two completely different stories depending on what side you ask.
“So the trust was broken there but the idea was always to bring him back, to bring Pep Guardiola back, to bring Puyol into the team but Puyol said no to being director of football.
Barcelona news LIVE: Club have ‘agreement in principle’ for £102m Man Utd transfer target [BLOG]
Who is the Premier League’s most overrated player? Our experts clash [DEBATE]
Ashley Young dubbed ‘better than the government’ after Italy lockdown coronavirus tips [SOCIAL]
“That was what Bartomeu wanted to do, to actually start the post-Messi plan and at the moment it hasn’t come off.
“The intention will be of course to create a strong team, hence the arrival of Neymar.
“But if it’s one of the candidates to the election, that should happen I think in 2021, say Victor Font for example, he has his own ideas of what to do after Messi.
“But in terms of who is in charge, I’ve just told you the main plans.”
Balague also claims Barca are trying to sell Antoine Griezmann this summer after a poor first season at the club.
“They’re showing [Griezmann] the door for him to go and move on,” he added.
“Every possibility is available, as well.
“What that means generally is that the club is saying ‘he’s for sale’.”