Last summer, FC Barcelona captain made Lionel Messi made it known that he has decided to leave the club. In the end, the move did not materialise, but he later admitted that his decision brought his family to tears.
Now that the end of his contract is fast approaching, the same issue awaits. Will he stay in Barcelona after June 2021, or will he move abroad? While his move last year was hampered by a massive release clause, he will be a free agent by the end of this season. That will make it much easier to find employment elsewhere, but it likely won't be easier for his family to leave their life in Barcelona behind.
Messi joined Barca as a 12-year-old, and has stayed with the club since then. While he keeps his Argentine identity, there is no doubt that Messi is a true Catalan as well. It has long been believed that he will end his career with the club, but recent events have brought about massive changes.
He mentioned in interviews last summer that his kids did not want to leave Barcelona, and it remains to be seen if that will be enough to make him stay. Moreover, there is still no word about a solid offer for a contract extension from the club itself.
What happens if he decides to leave? Last year, Manchester City appeared to be leading the pack to obtain Messi's signature. In recent months, French side Paris Saint-Germain has become more prominent.
French media and PSG players themselves have not been shy about expressing their desire to bring the six-time Ballon d'Or winner to the fold. The noise has been so much so that Barca manager Ronal Koeman himself has felt the need to speak out about comments made by the likes of Angel Di Maria and Neymar Jr.
Koeman thinks that it is highly "disrespectful" of the PSG players to speak about Messi and his future ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash. Barcelona hosts PSG in the round-of-16 tonight, February 16. All eyes will be on the match, with fans keeping an eye out for signs of any discussions that might occur between Messi and his potential future teammates.