Lionel Messi announced he will stay with Barcelona for another season until his contract expires in what was seen by many as a dramatic U-turn from his desire to leave the club following a disastrous 8-2 defeat at the hands of eventual champion Bayern Munich in the Champions League in August. Messi explained in an interview with why he doesn’t plan to start a legal war with the club over his faxed transfer request to trigger the exit clause on his contract. The club remained adamant that their star player would not leave without the €700 million clause triggered.  

There’s 10 months remaining in Messi’s contract, which means there’s 10 months for the club and the board to convince him to stay put with a new project on the horizon. We’ve already seen some significant changes as Arthur (Juventus), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla) and Carles Perez (Roma) have already left the club, while Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal could be next. Miralem Pjanic has already joined the club from Juventus as new manager Ronald Koeman pushes for fresh faces and top-quality stars to have this team competing in every competition during what feels like a rebuild. 

What happens next for Barcelona will likely be crucial as they try to keep their top star happy and convince him to stay beyond what appears to be a lame duck season. Let’s take a look at the roster and reach our own verdict on what the club should do with each prominent player during this new project.


Marc-Andre Ter Stegen: One of the world’s best goalkeepers. Get rid of him, and there is no way Messi stays past next summer. He’s as important as any other player in the team not named Messi. Verdict: Keep him.

Neto: A backup goalkeeper whose presence doesn’t quite matter. He’s been linked to a move to Italy. Verdict: Sell or keep.


Nelson Semedo: I think Messi could care less if he stays or goes, as he’s never shown much but has potential. Probably not a key player next season. Verdict: Sell or keep.

Gerard Pique: He isn’t the player he once was, but he is close with Messi, and he’s one of the familiar faces Messi would probably want around. Verdict: Keep.

Clement Lenglet: The team’s best central defender. Without him, they have very little chance of success. Verdict: Keep.

Jordi Alba: Jordi Alba would have to stay as him and Messi are often on the same page and know where each other are on the pitch at all times. A key piece. Verdict: Keep.

Samuel Umtiti: A player who seems to have more injuries than games played. At this point, will he pan out? His presence likely doesn’t matter much. Verdict: Sell or keep.

Junior Firpo: Another backup that won’t have an important role. Doesn’t matter if he stays. Verdict: Sell or keep. 


Sergio Busquets: Not a flash player, but he’s effective. He’s been key to a lot of Barca’s success and has the ability to get Messi into dangerous spots. Verdict: Keep.

Sergi Roberto: Could start at fullback and has a lot of versatility that this team needs. He is going to be needed next season for sure. Verdict: Keep.

Frenkie de Jong: The young Dutchman is one of the better talents in the side with a massive future ahead of him. He’s a sure starter, especially under his former national team coach. Verdict: Keep.


Ousmane Dembele: At this point, can they sell him and get something for him? This move just hasn’t worked out. Verdict: Sell.

Antoine Griezmann: Another star whose move to Barca hasn’t been great. He’s only been there for one season, so the expectation would be for him to continue, and he seems to have a good bond with Messi. Verdict: Keep.

Martin Braithwaite: One of the most obscure players to ever play for Barcelona. He is nowhere near close to being a starter, let alone a reasonable backup. Verdict: Sell (but they will probably keep him).


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