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The Journey of Leo Messi from Rosario to Barcelona and Paris

Pic via Twitter
Football: A year ago who would have thought that Leo Messi would part his ways with childhood club Barcelona. Where he became a symbol to Barcelona. In 2004 Messi signed his first official contract as a Barcelona player. At that time he was a normal boy from Rosario (Argentina) who came to Barcelona to fulfill his dream of playing some football. No one knew that a boy from a small city of Argentina was going to be the greatest player to ever play for Barcelona. In his early years at the club, he was not a regular starter for the team. Because there were lots of other senior players for the same position such as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto, Ibrahimović etc. But Messi was Messi, “Even when the sky is filled with the clouds, the Sun still shines”. Whenever Messi got the chance to play on field, he would steal the show. He showed the world that he is not an ordinary boy from the streets of Rosario. He was destined for greatness at Barcelona. 

In his early days at Barca
In 2005 he signed a long term 5 years deal with Barcelona. Barcelona and Messi were made for each other. Barca realised they had a Diamond in their hand. So, less than three months passed and the club offered him a new contract with a high wage that would keep him at the club until 2014.  In 2007, less than two years passed until he signed another new deal. This time he didn't extend his stay at Camp Nou, but was handed a pay raise to a reported €100,000-a-week.
With Ronaldinho
Next year 2008: Another year, another new contract, this time reportedly, Messi became the club's highest paid player. He also inherited the No. 10 shirt of Ronaldinho, after he parted ways with the club. This was the start of a new era in the football world. The famous No. 10 jersey became a symbol to Barcelona. Both Messi and Barca helped each other in achieving greatness to a next level. Pep Guardiola (Then manager of Barcelona) built a team around Messi and won many trophies, including The Treble in 2009. Guardiola recognized his potential and Messi didn’t disappoint him. At Barca, Messi achieved some personal glory too. In 2009-10 Messi won his first of many Ballon d’Or (Highest honour in Football) for winning the treble with Barca.
With his first Ballon d'Or
Messi after winning Treble with Barca

In 2009: Messi signed another long term deal (until 2016) after winning the Champions League with his master Pep Guardiola against Manchester United in Rome. And, his release clause was reportedly boosted to a massive  €250m. Between 2009-13 Barcelona won many trophies including Champions League (2011) and domestic leagues. On the other hand Messi also tested some individual glory too. He added three more Ballon d’Ors (2010, 2011 and 2012) to his cabinet and also three European Golden Shoes (2010, 2012 and 2013). In 2013 Messi had three and half years of his remaining contract, but Barca again raised his salary and set the release clause of €250. Which made him untouchable for other clubs. 

Messi in 2014
And finally a time came in Messi’s career when Barcelona went empty handed for a whole season. On top of that, ‘Real Madrid’ the arch-rival of Barca won the Champions League and Atletico Madrid won the league. There were rumours in the transfer market that Messi might leave Barca. But there were more glories waiting for Messi with Barca. Messi clarified to the media about his future,  "The truth is that things have not gone as we expected -- it was a tough year, both personally and in the group. About my own situation, I am happy to stay at my home [Barcelona], as I have always said. It is the people in Barcelona who have to decide what to do about my future, but my choice is to stay once I feel the same affection from them. If not, then I will look for another solution because I will always want the best for this club." 
Treble winning team 2015
2015 was again a year that Barca and Messi dominated the Football world by winning the treble. Messi also won his 5th Ballon d’Or. Same year Messi signed another improved deal with Bara to keep him at the club until 2018.

But again Messi, Barcelona and the new contract was a never ending saga. In 2017 Messi signed a four year deal with Barcelona under President Josep Maria Bartomeu . Which was worth €555.2 million, according to a spanish report. It is said to be the biggest deal in sports history.

Image via Twiter
As the time progressed Barca started to decline. Because nothing is permanent and you have to act accordingly. Messi knew his time was over at Barcelona so he asked the club president Bartomeu to let him go, as his contract was also over and club president Bartomeu told him that he can leave at the end of the season. But from nowhere the entire world suffered from a deadly Corona virus and football season got delayed. When games resumed and the season ended on July 20th. Messi asked to leave the club as promised by Bartomeu. But president Bartomeu had other ideas and said that season officially ended on June 10th (Pre Covid set schedule). So by rule, you should have left by 10th of June and demanded to pay the release clause set by the club of  €700 million. In an interview with ‘Goal’ Messi said, I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not. “Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season. And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million ($823m) clause, and that this is impossible.” 
Club President Joan Laporta
Later, after a few days of this incident Bartomeu was forced to resign as a president and Joan Laporta (Former Barca President) was elected as a new president. The new president somehow convinced Messi to stay and help him to build a team around him. Messi also gave his thumbs up. But destiny had some other idea. After winning the “Copa America” title with his national team Argentina. Messi was in Barcelona to sign his new contract as a Barca player. But from nowhere Spanish football league implemented a new set of rules for LaLiga to limit the salary cap of each team. And with the new arrivals of Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia. It was impossible to pay the wages of Messi for the club. 

Messi addressing to media. Image courtesy: Twitter
"Leo Messi had other offers on the table but he wanted to STAY, also if our proposal was inferior from a financial point of view. He was NOT creating any problem, trust me - he made many financial efforts to stay here, the contract was agreed. ”We can’t sell fake hopes to our fans. The first offer was two years of wages paid over five. We thought this would be allowed under La Liga's fair play regulations, but the rules here are different than elsewhere. We have to move on. Barcelona Football Club is above everything." said Laporta. 

Messi and Barcelona both parties were ready to sign a new deal.  “We had everything agreed, but at the last minute, it couldn’t happen. This year I wanted to stay and I couldn’t. Last year I didn’t want to stay, and I said it,” Messi said.

Announcement of the Messi's departure
On 5th August, Catalan club announced the departure of their talisman. And It was the end of an era at Barcelona. Since making his senior debut at Camp Nou in 2003, Messi has played 778 games for the Catalan club, scoring a record 672 goals.
Messi unveiled as new PSG player
Messi as a new PSG player
Ever since Barcelona confirmed the departure of Messi, PSG was the only club that were pushing to sign him. August 10th was the day when PSG unveiled their new signing Leo Messi on a two year contract until 2023 (with an option two extend one year) with a salary of €35 million per year, reportedly. 
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Sourecs: espn, marca

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