It is finally happening. After a horrendous end to their 2019/20 season, Lionel Messi has decided to call it a day on his time at Barcelona. Lionel Messi's unwavering loyalty has been one of Barcelona's greatest assets in the 21st century and now it looks like they will have to prepare for life without the diminutive magician.
Barcelona went trophyless this season and that is, in no small part, owing to the atrocious recruitment habits and poor management policies the Cules have adopted over the past few years.
That Messi is displeased with the board and wants to leave is clear now. But where can he go? Who has the financial clout to accommodate one of the greatest footballers of all time? We think he should head over to the Serie A. Let's take a look at 5 reasons why Lionel Messi should do that.
#5 Lionel Messi could cement his status as the greatest of all time
Perhaps the only argument that Lionel Messi's detractors proffer and holds weight is that he has spent his entire career at Barcelona and has not broken out of his comfort zone. In fact, he was challenged by his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo to move to Serie A and encounter new hurdles.
Messi has himself admitted that he misses his arch-nemesis. After joining Juventus, Ronaldo had famously said,
"No, maybe he misses me. I played in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, in the national team, while he is still in Spain. Maybe he needs me more. For me, life is a challenge, I like it, and I like to make people happy.
I would like him to come to Italy one day. Like me, accept the challenge. However, if he is happy there, I respect him. He is a fantastic player, a good guy, but I do not miss anything here. This is my new life, and I'm happy."
Lionel Messi could move to the Serie A and if he goes on to be successful there, then he can silence his critics and prove to the world that he can adapt to a new philosophy and still continue to perform at the highest level. Thus he can cement his status as the greatest of all time.
#4 Players over 30 still thriving in Serie A
It's not that age is catching up with Lionel Messi. But at 33, his body won't let him perform at the levels he used to when he was in his 20s and running around the football ground leaving defenders for dead. Serie A would be a great hunting ground for Messi as players over 30 have continued to thrive in the Italian top-flight.
A 35-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo scored 31 goals from 33 appearances in the Serie A this term. Atalanta's Josep Ilicic, who was their standout performer in an excellent campaign, is 32 years old. The European Golden shoe winner, Ciro Immobile is 30-years-old and scored 36 league goals from 37 appearances in the league.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been absolutely sensational for AC Milan since returning to the club aged 38. Atalanta's Alejandro Gomez has been one of the best attacking midfielders of the 2019-20 Serie A season and he is 32. These are just a few examples.
As such, there is no doubt that Lionel Messi could hit the ground running in the Serie A should he find the right team as opposed to the Premier League where the higher intensity of the games often takes a toll on old legs.