Can Barcelona survive without Lionel Messi who is set to leave the club at the end of the season? What next for the Catalan club?
Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest ever player that has graced the football field and will certainly go down as the greatest that has represented Barcelona. The 33-year-old captain is most likely on his way out at the end of this season after several magical years at the Camp Nou.
His contribution towards the club’s success simply cannot be measured or judged given how much he has contributed. However, statistically, Messi’s 932 goal contributions are equivalent to 10% of all the goals scored by Barcelona. That just goes on to prove how significant the Argentine’s role has been at the club for so many years and how dependent Barca has been as well.
Like the saying goes that all good things come to an end, Messi’s exit now seems closer than ever. But the question remains: Can Barcelona cope without Leo Messi after being dependent all these years on the Argentine to break the deadlock?
The simple answer would be that they would undoubtedly struggle without Leo Messi’s presence. Ever since the 33-year-old has managed to pick up pace, Barcelona has subsequently managed to also go on a winning streak. In their last five La Liga fixtures, the Catalans have only dropped one point and that was against Eibar when Lionel Messi was out injured with an ankle injury.
Since his return, Barca went on a running streak as they surpassed Huesca, Athletic Bilbao, Granada, and Elche in the Spanish League. In these four fixtures, Messi contributed to five goals by scoring four and assisting one. It is a clear indicator that Barcelona are quite reliant on Lionel Messi to perform every match-day to secure three points.
However, Messi’s possible departure next season could also turn out to be fruitful for a few other players. Forwards such as Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, and Ansu Fati would have to bear the pressure of performing consistently which could trigger a positive sense of motivation to perform at the highest level.
The Catalans have spent a figure close to 265 million euros for Griezmann and Dembele, however, the French attacking duo has not yet kicked off their careers at Barca. Messi’s departure could put them under the spotlight to perform and it could well and truly turn out to be a turning point in their career.
Another player who could benefit from Lionel Messi’s departure would be Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian is the club’s record signing but has failed to live up to the mark since his playing style clashes with Messi. The 28-year-old could become the focal point once Messi leaves in creating and dictating attacking transitions which is his trademark trait.
The younger generation would also be provided more opportunities especially to player such as Fransico Trincao, Ansu Fati and Pedri who have shown immense potential to lead the attack of the club in the future years. At the end of the day, Barcelona will struggle without Lionel Messi’s presence, however, it is high time for the club to learn how to win without their star man while also shifting the pressure on other superstars to perform consistently.