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Questions raised over 'extraordinary' Messi's future, says Guillem Balague

Frustration for all-time top scorer over team around him

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal against Sevilla
Image: Lionel Messi is now La Liga's all-time top goalscorer

Guillem Balague believes Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona will remain in doubt until they build a better team around him...

Let’s start with a homage to Lionel Messi as what happened on Saturday is extraordinary.

He has broken the La Liga goalscoring record that has stood for 59 years. Telmo Zarra achieved it at the age of 34, while Messi did it seven years younger.

You have to say that scoring is what he always wanted to do. The move to get him closer to the box was something that was predicted by Frank Rijkaard and put into place by Pep Guardiola.

It was partly because he felt that, by moving Messi closer to the box, he would score more goals and when he was on the wing it meant that defensively the team was weaker on that particular side. It’s funny how a defensive move actually became a huge offensive weapon for Barcelona.

With that in mind, I think without Cristiano Ronaldo this wouldn’t have happened so quickly. I read in AS on Monday morning that they have both scored more than one goal a game since they joined forces in La Liga in 2009 when Ronaldo arrived from Manchester United.

A lot of fans, much like Messi himself, are fed up that Barcelona haven’t built a competitive team
Guillem Balague

Without that it wouldn’t have happened – they feed off each other and you can see the consequences now.


There are other records Messi can still break; he can still break the all-time Champions League goalscoring record as he is level with Raul now. He’s chasing Gabriel Batistuta’s record for the Argentina national side and there’s the Copa America to play for now that they have a competitive group.

It wasn’t by chance that when the Director of Football and the President appeared on the big screen after his record-breaking game, they were whistled by a lot of people.

A lot of fans, much like Messi himself, are fed up that Barcelona haven’t built a competitive team.That is why he has come out with ambiguous declarations about his future.

On one hand he says “I see myself at Barcelona until the end of my career” and on the other he says “things do not always happen as you want them to”.

Guillem answers your questions...

If Barcelona’s inconsistency persists could we see talisman Lionel Messi leave the club? Dom

GUILLEM SAYS: When he was 18 or 19, Inter Milan made a huge offer for him and Joan Laporta told Messi’s dad that he may get a lot of money at Inter but he would not get the glory and the love he would have at Barcelona. It was a bluff by the President because no one could predict the huge success the Spanish club would have. That was the closest he came to leaving. But I feel we are getting to that stage again – I have the impression the question of his future is on the table again. I don’t believe it’s been answered, and it won’t be until the club put out a competitive team on the pitch to answer it.

What was the rationale behind selling Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea and replacing him with Ivan Rakitic? Paul

GUILLEM SAYS: Fabregas asked Barca to leave and he tried to go to Arsenal at first, although two years ago he was in conversation with Manchester United, but I heard that Louis Van Gaal didn’t want him this year. Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, in particular, didn’t want him back at the Emirates as he thought that Mesut Ozil could do the work. Chelsea was the other option and they went for him. Two years ago Barcelona didn’t accept the thought of him leaving, but this year they did.

How big a risk has David Moyes taken by re-starting his career in Spain? What is the Spanish view of him? Marcus

GUILLEM SAYS: I spent some time with David Moyes last week. Imagine leaving your country and going to another one abroad, where you only have basic information about your new home and your new job. So he’s gathering a lot of information. He’s been brought up in England and he’s used to certain standards with regards to media relations, stadia and such. You probably take it for granted in England because the Premier League is the best place in the world.  He wants all of that to be improved at Real Sociedad.

First of all he wants to make an impact as a coach.  To do so he needs to work on his communication skills, decide who his best players are, and consider who he is going to sign. He also needs to decide things like where he and his wife are going to live. It reminded me of when I first moved to Liverpool to live in England. He has to deliver results, but he doesn’t have a bad start in terms of fixtures. You may see a guy on the bench giving instructions but there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes for that to take place and the club are doing all they can to help him do that.

Sky Bet still see any move for Messi as unlikely, making him 1/12 to still be a Barcelona player come the close of the 2015 summer transfer window. Chelsea and Manchester (both 16/1) are considered potential suitors, although the latter’s manager Manuel Pellegrini has talked down any such suggestion, labelling them as “only rumours”.

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