It appears Lionel Messi will soon be leaving Barcelona, the only club he’s ever known as a professional. It’s earth-shattering news for the footballing world, akin to Michael Jordan leaving basketball for baseball, the death of Kobe Bryant, Pete Rose being banned from baseball or Lou Gehrig’s retirement.
While news of Messi wanting to leave Barcelona isn’t the biggest shock given recent events, it’s hard to imagine him playing for any club other than the one that brought him over from Argentina as a diminutive 13-year-old. It’s not unlike LeBron James leaving Cleveland (the first time), Tom Brady abandoning the Patriots, Boston selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees or Hakeem Olajuwon playing for the Raptors.
Then again, Messi has shown a history of petulance after big defeats. After losing the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Copa América finals, Messi claimed he was done with international football before reconsidering shortly thereafter. Speculation again arose over international retirement after the 2018 World Cup. The point is, there’s still a possibility Barcelona keeps Messi, though it probably includes bringing in a huge amount of talent, perhaps even Neymar, to appease him, or someone figuring a way out of this binding contract.
Anyway, Messi’s potential transfer — whether it’s to Manchester City, PSG, Inter Milan or Inter Miami — is the biggest sports story of 2020. Here’s how social media is reacting.
Lionel Messi Social Media Reaction To Leaving Barcelona
1. Newell's Old Boys
2. Inter Miami
3. All those commercials where it's Messi vs. robots
4. Arsenal https://t.co/J089XVF38M— The18 (@the18com) August 25, 2020
Things are about to get very Messi— Twitter Sports (@TwitterSports) August 25, 2020
— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) August 25, 2020
A look from insideUnseen footage from Pedri's presentation!
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 25, 2020
Give Messi the Beckham franchise fee discount post retirement and let’s play some soccer.— Mike Magee (@magee18) August 25, 2020
Our No. jersey was free last time we checked...#Messi pic.twitter.com/pVbksLjrFu— Sampdoria English (@sampdoria_en) August 25, 2020
Already looks good on the kit! Messi we are ready when you are pic.twitter.com/Njizh9qUg6— El Paso Locomotive FC (@eplocomotivefc) August 25, 2020
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) August 25, 2020
"...and then @sheabayy2 rounded the keeper and the rest is history" pic.twitter.com/l8OrQhlE50— Houston Dash (@HoustonDash) August 25, 2020
Ahhh Messi is Leaving...— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) August 25, 2020
Wonder if Messi has ever thought of trying out baseball pic.twitter.com/zJqOQOYUlf— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) August 25, 2020
Messi... pic.twitter.com/mlyP85ahhZ— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) August 25, 2020
*extremely corny SEO capitalizing on trending topics voice*In a remarkable parallel to the flailing GOP, which has staked its entire reputation & strategy on Donald Trump, Barcelona has lost all identity & become simply Messi’s team. What are they now without their figureheads?
— Aaron West (@oeste) August 25, 2020
Seriously, Barcelona's management makes the New York Knicks look competent.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) August 25, 2020
Messi wants out of Barcelona. Bears need a kicker... https://t.co/puzwnse6oU— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) August 25, 2020
Be bold. #Messi.— Rob Stone (@RobStoneONFOX) August 25, 2020
MLS was pleading poverty two months ago and now they're going to make a run at Messi?How do you say 'lololololol' in Catalan?
— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) August 25, 2020
Although I wouldn’t put it past 45 to give Messi what he wants in exchange for a 3-minute endorsement at the RNC— Ian Powers (@IanPowers) August 25, 2020
And so the destruction is complete.— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) August 25, 2020
Everybody: Messi is leaving Barcelona
US Sports Media: First round of the NBA Playoffs is happening people— Julian Gressel (@JulianGressel) August 25, 2020