With Barcelona out of title race, Messi has future {to decide|to choose|to determine}

Lionel Messi
Image Source: GETTY {IMAGES|PICTURES}

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona shows his dejection {during the|through the|throughout the} La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona and RC Celta at Camp Nou {on May|on, may} 16, 2021 in Barcelona.

With Barcelona’s season {effectively|efficiently|effortlessly} over, Lionel Messi now {has a|includes a|features a} big decision {to make|to create|to produce}. Should {he|that he} finish out his career at the club that helped him become an all-time football great?

Or have the team’s struggles {to keep|to help keep} winning trophies convinced him {that he|he} {can find|will get|will find} more success in Paris or Manchester?

Barcelona was left {without any|without the|with no} {chance of|potential for|possibility of} winning the Spanish league on Sunday, bowing out the title race in demoralizing fashion after letting Celta Vigo overhaul {a goal|an objective|a target} by Messi and rally for a 2-1 victory.

Atlético Madrid beat Osasuna 2-1 {and can|and may|and will} now only be caught by Real Madrid in next weekend’s final round.

Barcelona has one game left on the calendar, but with nothing to play for except third {place in|invest|devote} the league, the club’s attention {is now|is currently|has become} fully on {the future of|the continuing future of|the ongoing future of} its inscrutable star.

Last summer, Messi had said {he|that he} {wanted to|wished to|desired to} leave Barcelona {after a|following a|after having a} campaign that finished {without a|with out a|with no} title and a humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. When that exit was denied by the club, Messi said {that he|he} would {focus on|concentrate on|give attention to} {this season|this year|in 2010} and {put off|defer|delay} any decision until {this summer|come early july|come july 1st} when his contract expires on June 30.

{Since then|Since that time|Ever since then}, Joan Laporta has been elected for {a second|another|an additional} stint {as the|because the|since the} club’s president. Laporta ran Barcelona when Messi was just blossoming with the team and maintained {a good|an excellent|a great} relationship with {the player|the ball player|the gamer} and his family. {Even so|However|Nevertheless}, Messi {has not|have not|hasn’t} confirmed {a decision|a choice|a determination} on his future.

“I hope {not|maybe not|perhaps not}, ” coach Ronald Koeman replied when {he was|that he was} asked if {he|that he} believed Messi had played his final match at Camp Nou — a stadium still without fans {because of the|due to the} COVID-19 pandemic.

“He {is still|continues to be|remains} {the best|the very best|the most effective} player {in the world|on the planet|on earth} {and today|now|and after this} {he|that he} showed {that it is|that it’s|it is} impossible to play without him, ” Koeman said. “He has scored 30 goals {this season|this year|in 2010} (in the league) and earned us {a lot of|plenty of|lots of} points.

“It is {up to|around|as much as} Messi. {For me|For me personally} and the club, {we want|we wish|we would like} him {to stay|to remain|to keep} {with us|around}. Because if Leo {is not|isn’t|just isn’t} here, {we have|we’ve|we now have} doubts about {who can|who is able to|who are able to} score. ”

{On the same|On a single|For a passing fancy} night that Barcelona’s women won the Champions League for {the first time|the very first time|initially} by routing Chelsea 4-0, Barcelona’s men’s lineup was again undone by some sloppy defending and {failing to|failing woefully to|failing continually to} converting their scoring chances.

The 33-year-old Messi extended his club-record tally to 672 goals with a header {to give|to provide|to offer} Barcelona a first-half lead against Celta. But like {too many|way too many|a lot of} times in recent weeks, Barcelona’s defense {let it|allow it|allow it to} down.

Celta striker Santi Mina equalized before halftime on {a shot|a go|an attempt} that goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen {could have|may have|might have} done more {to try to|to attempt to|to try and} keep out. Mina then added {a second|another|an additional} goal in the 88th after defender Clément Lenglet left Barcelona {a man|a guy|a person} down when {he|that he} earned {a second|another|an additional} yellow card.

Koeman had succeeded in {bringing in|attracting|getting} some younger players to rejuvenate Barcelona’s squad {this season|this year|in 2010} and steering the team to the Copa del Rey title last month.

The former Barcelona defender had also inspired his team to a hot streak in the league that had allowed it to {almost|nearly|very nearly} erase a double-digit lead by Atlético.

{But when|However when|Nevertheless when} Barcelona had {the opportunity|the chance|the ability} {to move|to go|to maneuver} past Atlético and {take|just take|simply take} the lead in late April, {it was|it had been|it absolutely was} upset 2-1 by Granada {at home|in the home}. That loss derailed the team. Barcelona drew with Atlético and at Levante {before the|prior to the|ahead of the} loss to Celta. If {it does not|it generally does not|it doesn’t} beat the already relegated Eibar {in the last|within the last|within the last few} round, Barcelona could finish in fourth place.

The late-season collapse of his team {that may|that could|which could} have put Koeman’s job {in danger comes with|in danger includes|in danger is sold with|in peril comes with|in peril includes|in peril is sold with|at risk comes with|at risk includes|at risk is sold with} midfield great Xavi Hernández apparently being groomed to {take|just take|simply take} his place.

Published at Mon, 17 {May|Might|May possibly} 2021 06: 46: 28 +0000