Is Lionel Messi the world’s premier player? Yeah, he probably is. And if you go by the press reports and even the videos his club has been placing on social media, you would say he is ready to resume playing like it – right now.
Barcelona is into group session training for the La Liga return, which is going to happen pretty soon. They have been given the green light to resume league games, and BetAnySports patrons should be looking at June 11 or June 12 as the target for that.
Messi has been on fire all season long, with 19 goals in his side’s 22 matches.
And Barca is positioned at the top of the standings at the moment, two points head of Real Madrid. They stand a chance of coming back healthier, as Ousmane Dembele should be over a hamstring injury that severely hampered him.
Messi isn’t making any assumptions. He concedes that “it will be like starting from scratch” at this time.
He has played in front of no fans in the stadium prior to this, but not all his current teammates were with Barca back in 2017 when that took place against Las Palmas. It was an experience Messi called “downright spooky.”
And he will advise his mates that they had better be prepared from a mental standpoint to play in a venue without fan support. In a way, that evens out, of course, as opponents don’t get the benefit of a home crowd either.
Even at the age of 32, Messi is considered by most to be the best player in the game, and one of the very best of all-time. Last season he scored 36 goals as Barcelona won the La Liga title.
Messi is a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, and has spent all sixteen of his professional seasons with Barcelona, during which time they have won ten La Liga titles, as well as four crowns in the UEFA Champions League. He captured the Golden Ball at the 2014 World Cup, and has been named to the World 11 an incredible thirteen years in a row. He is also the all-time career goal-scorer in the history of La Liga, and that much is no surprise.
What he is missing is a World Cup championship, and he’ll get one last chance – presumably – in 2022 at Qatar.
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Messi has said that he is not 100% certain that he will indeed play in the World Cup, so the stigma – if you want to call it that – about not winning the “big one” for his country may remain.
But he is rich enough that he won’t be unhappy about that forever. He sustained an income tax fraud conviction for not paying over a three-year period. That would have been quite a chunk, but he can handle it – his salary for Barcelona is over $80 million. You can add about $35-40 million more to that in endorsements and ancillary income. And adidas will be paying him every year for the rest of his life.
Maybe a pertinent question is, who is going to be paying him a year or two down the road? His contract with Barcelona runs out next season, and he has at times had a shaky relationship with the Barca hierarchy. Inter Milan (Serie A – Italy) president Massimo Moratti is said to be very interested in taking him on for a last hurrah.
For now, we’ll concentrate on the “hurrahs” until then.
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