One day in the fall of 2009, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and his old friend and partner Manel Estiarte were sitting in the front row of the team bus when they suddenly heard the buzzing of their mobile phones.
2009年秋天的某一天，巴塞罗那教练瓜迪奥拉（Pep Guardiola）和他的老朋友兼搭档曼尼斯·埃斯蒂亚特（Manel Estiarte）坐在团队巴士的前排，突然听到手机嗡嗡作响。
Guardiola read a text message: "Well, I know I am no longer important to the team, so..."
That text message was sent by Messi, and he was sitting in the back seat of the bus. At that time, Barcelona's new aid Ibrahimovic scored goals in the first 5 La Liga matches. Although Messi also scored goals and the two even assisted each other, he felt that his position in the team was under threat, so he expressed his inner feelings to Guardiola in the only way he knew.
Guardiola quickly corrected the mistake, Ibrahimovic only stayed in Barcelona for one season. Messi played a more important role in the Barcelona team and later led the team to great success.
In the past ten years, many changes have taken place in the Barcelona club. Messi has also matured and assumed more responsibilities on and off the stadium. But no matter how many chairs, directors, coaches and players Barcelona change, one thing remains the same, that is, always keep the most important person in the team happy.
In February of this year, at his home in the wealthy area of Barcelona's waterfront, Messi once again took out his mobile phone and sent a text message.
The remarks made by former teammate and Barcelona club sports director Eric Abidal made Messi very dissatisfied and felt provoked. In an interview with Catalan media "Daily Sport", Abidal hinted that Barcelona players should be responsible for the former coach Valverde's dismissal in January.
"Frankly, I don't like doing these things." Messi responded by posting on social media. "But I think everyone must take responsibility for their responsibilities and the decisions they make. This includes both Players, including those in charge of the'technical area', they need to take responsibility, especially for the decisions they make. Finally, I think if someone mentions a player, then they should name it, because if they don’t take things To be clear, you are throwing dirty water on everyone."
In a conversation with the "World Sports", Messi explained why he was shocked by Abidal's remarks.
"I don't know what was in his mind when he said those words. But I need to respond because I feel attacked. I feel he is attacking the players." Messi said, "rumors about the dressing room. Too many. Some people say that players control everything, including hiring and firing coaches, signing players-especially for me."
"People seem to believe that I have too much power to make decisions. To my anger, someone in the club also said that, he is also the technical secretary... According to him, the player fired the coach. I think it's crazy The technical secretary made these decisions and he must be held accountable. That’s why I have to stand up and clarify the facts. Since the sports director attacked me in any way, I can’t pretend that nothing happened.”
When asked whether this frustration will affect his long-term future at Barcelona, Messi’s answer is the same as in the past: he is willing to retire at the Nou Camp, but he also hopes that the club’s senior management can show support for him. "I have had many opportunities to leave this club. Many clubs are interested in me and even plan to pay a termination fee. But I have never really considered leaving, and I will not. I want to say it again, as long as the club wants me to stay Here, that's okay."
But the problem is that for those who work with Messi, it is difficult for them to know exactly what he wants.
Even Messi can hardly explain his thoughts accurately. Messi will only say that he wants to play for a team that can win all championships, especially the Champions League trophy.
According to "The Athletic", Messi is indeed angry with Abidal's remarks, and this emotion has accumulated for a long time. The root of the problem is that Messi feels that he has been "snapped" and seems to be responsible for all the mistakes made by the club. This made him very frustrated.
Therefore, whether posting on social media or accepting media interviews, Messi emphasized that everyone in the club must take responsibility for their own decisions and mistakes. Messi believes that the top management should not put the blame on him, and he can't just throw away the pot because of his quiet personality-as Barcelona's number one star, he is easy to be criticized.
Every season, someone in the Barcelona club will leak secrets to the Catalan media, accusing Messi of being responsible for the team's problems. If Griezmann did not integrate into the team and his performance was lower than expected, it was because Messi did not pass the ball to him.
If Barcelona encounter financial problems, it is because Messi and his father Jorge are always asking for a raise... In a sense, Abidal's remarks are like the last straw to crush the camel.
These stories have caused widespread dissemination, leading many people to believe that Messi's power in Barcelona is so powerful that as long as he picks up his phone, he can call the wind and rain. After all, the "SMS Gate" incident in 2009 showed that although Messi is shy and introverted, he needs to be the number one player in the team. For all the staff of the Barcelona club, making Messi happy is the top priority.
这些故事引起了广泛的传播，使许多人相信梅西在巴塞罗那的力量是如此强大，以至于只要他拿起电话，他都能打电话给风吹雨打。毕竟，2009年的“ SMS Gate”事件表明，尽管梅西内向害羞且内向，但他仍需要成为车队的头号球员。对于巴塞罗那俱乐部的所有员工来说，让梅西开心是重中之重。
But it is clear that if Messi really said nothing in Barcelona, then in recent years, many of Barcelona's signings will not happen at all.
Since 2014, Barcelona has spent more than 800 million euros to sign more than 30 players, none of these players are friends or former teammates of Messi. Earlier, some media said that Barcelona may sign Messi’s teammates in the Argentine national team, such as Aguero or Banega, but none of them came. Last summer, Messi did want Barcelona to buy back Neymar, but the club chairman Bartomeu signed Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.
When new players such as Coutinho and Dembele performed poorly, Messi felt that he was always accused, even though the signing of these two players had nothing to do with him. According to sources, once, Messi was surprised to see a new teammate on the training ground. The day before the training, Messi did not even know the news of the latter joining Barcelona.
Of course, Barcelona executives did try to make some decisions they thought would make Messi happy.
In the summer of 2013, the Barcelona board felt that signing another superstar attacker (Neymar) might cause problems, so they decided to hire Martino as head coach-like Messi, Martino is also a Rosario. He played for Newell's old boy in his playing career.
According to Messi and his father Jorge, they have no direct relationship with Barcelona’s appointment of Martino, and as far as we know, this is indeed the case... However, before the official signing with Martino, the Barcelona executives did ask Messi’s views.
After Martino, Barcelona's appointment of Enrique, Valverde and Setien to coach the team has nothing to do with Messi, and the senior management did not ask Messi for his opinion before they officially took office.
The relationship between Messi and these coaches is not perfect. In January 2015, a huge dispute broke out with Enrique, but in any case, these frictions did not affect their cooperation.
When Guardiola coached Barcelona, Messi sometimes told him not to talk too much about tactics and just let the best players appear on the field.
Nowadays, Barcelona coaches usually have more complicated ideas when arranging team tactics, but they know that in order for Messi to perform at the best level, he needs to be comfortable.
It is for this reason that they will keep Suarez on the court, even if the Uruguayan shooter's physical condition has not recovered to 100%. This also means that Setien needs to arrange a position for Vidal-although Vidal is not entirely suitable for Setien's preferred style of playing, he and Messi have a good chemical reaction on and off the court.
But selecting players is still the responsibility of the coach. Messi just wants to focus on doing what he does best. At the same time, Messi hopes that other people in the club can also do their job well, not to shirk responsibility at will, let alone blame Valverde for his dismissal.
In fact, no one asked Messi’s views before the Barcelona executives decided to fire Valverde. As club presidents and sports directors, Bartomeu and Abidal have the right to fire coaches and should also take responsibility for their own decisions... Messi hopes that they will not move out of the "dressing room" or "big players" as a shield.
In Barcelona's 2-2 draw with Celta in a game, many media hyped Messi's "cold out" of Setien and assistant coach Saravia. This also frustrated Messi.
The situation at the time was: Messi was using the time to replenish water to think about what to do next, to help the team beat Celta and score the key 3 points. Messi didn't ignore the coach, but near the chaotic sideline, he didn't even notice that the coach was calling him, and that scene happened to be captured by the camera...
On the sidelines, Messi is not only able to communicate with theoretical leaders through text messages, but not face to face. Setien revealed that he "talks often to Messi"; Bartomeu also said that he and Messi often have friendly conversations around the training ground. This statement is credible, of course, neither of them wants to provoke a direct confrontation.
Messi felt that he was just an ordinary person. As a player, he just wants to play well, not willing to make any important decisions. He never thought about selecting teammates, asking Barcelona to appoint and dismiss a coach, or decide which players to sign...
Messi just wants to participate in training or competition, and then go home to be with his family. Therefore, Messi is angry at the accusations that he is manipulating the club and imposing his ideas on everyone-especially at the moment when the club and the team are in a huge crisis.
Messi hopes to stay away from outside noise, but as the captain of Barcelona, he knows that he needs to speak more in public, especially to accept more interviews from the Catalan media. These interviews are usually strictly controlled by the Barcelona public relations department, but he will try to explain his thoughts and inner feelings.
Messi is also very clear that many people in the club (including players and staff) often leak some inside information to local reporters, and the subsequent stories often have a negative impact on him.
Messi knows that some people complain that he is not like a real leader and captain compared to the Argentine star Maradona, while others accuse him of trying to occupy too much power and decide everything by himself. The two statements contradicted each other, which made him even more frustrated.
An obvious fact is that, considering the achievements of Messi's career and the mistakes made by Barcelona's top management, if Messi really wants to use his influence, no one can stop him. A source said: "If Leo does have an idea, he can stand up tomorrow and say:'We need a new chairman and head coach.' The red button is in his hand, but he never press."
Messi has never publicly asked the club to fire anyone, nor has he knocked on the door of the club chairman to make a request.
In any case, the Barcelona executives will still do their best to make Messi happy, and those who have publicly criticized or questioned Messi have paid the price.
For example, when Javier Faos publicly questioned the rationality of the club providing Messi with a new contract "every six months" at the end of 2013, he was quickly marginalized and did not stay on the Barcelona board for too long. Pere Gratacos had served for a long time at the La Masia Youth Academy, but in January 2017, he claimed that "Without Iniesta or Neymar, Messi would not be as good as it is now", he was rejected by Barcelona. The top management was relieved of all positions... In these two incidents, Messi did not speak up, but some in the club felt that action should be taken to avoid more conflicts.
例如，当哈维尔·福斯（Javier Faos）在2013年底公开质疑俱乐部向梅西提供“每六个月”一份新合同的合理性时，他很快就被边缘化了，并且没有在巴塞罗那董事会任职太久。佩雷·格拉塔科斯（Pere Gratacos）在拉马西亚青年学院（La Masia Youth Academy）任职很长时间，但在2017年1月，他声称“没有伊涅斯塔（Iniesta）或内马尔（Neymar），梅西就不会像现在这样出色”，他被巴塞罗那拒绝了。高层管理人员被解职了……在这两起事件中，梅西没有大声疾呼，但俱乐部中的一些人认为应该采取行动避免更多冲突。
Today, Abidal still serves as Barcelona's sports director, but his prestige has been irretrievably weakened.
According to "The Athletic", Messi’s contract renewal negotiations with Barcelona are still going on. However, due to the impact of the epidemic, Messi’s father Jorge has been in Argentina for some time, and the negotiations are not expected to make significant progress in the short term. .
For Barcelona, in order to persuade the 33-year-old Messi to agree to a long-term contract, the poor financial situation is their biggest shortcoming. For Messi and his family, money has always been important. He has raised his salary nine times in the past 15 years.
Many clubs are willing to meet Messi’s financial needs, such as Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City. Once Messi’s contract extension is blocked, they will try to persuade him to leave Barcelona. In the past, Jorge has even met and talked with representatives of Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez.
In the 2013-14 season, the biggest "crisis" Messi encountered in Barcelona is directly related to Neymar's joining the team. The Barcelona executives once assured the Messi family that Neymar’s salary was much lower than Messi’s, but it didn’t take long for the huge "bonus" provided by Barcelona to Neymar and his father (and agent) to be exposed...
At about the same time, Real Madrid offered Ronaldo a lucrative new contract, which made Messi feel that his status as the world's highest paid player was threatened.
The situation was so serious that in April 2014, Messi said when visiting the seriously ill former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova in April 2014: "I am leaving (Barca). It has nothing to do with money. "But he did not disclose which club he would go to.
In that season, Martino coached Barcelona with no results, Messi had to appear in court to face charges of tax fraud, and was absent for two months due to injuries. However, Messi did not leave Barcelona in the end and signed a new contract with Barcelona the following summer.
In a sense, Messi's experience in the 2013-14 season is very similar to this season: the team's record is not good, and various factors on and off the court make him very uncomfortable.
Some Catalan media claimed that Messi wants Barcelona to change the club's chairman and head coach. For example, he will welcome Harvey from Sade back to Camp Nou to coach the team. But as far as we know, Messi does not often contact Harvey, nor is he inclined to plan the future for the club with his former teammates.
As the best player in the world, Messi is willing to take his responsibilities on the court, but he has not found a solution to all the problems in the Barcelona club, and does not want others to provide him. Messi accepts Barcelona members to decide who is the club chairman, and the board decides which head coach to appoint... He does not want to be used by any candidate, never meets any candidate, nor participates in canvassing or campaigning.
Messi is not interested in these things-after all, he is just a player.
Messi hopes to stay in Barcelona and win more titles with the team. Over the years, Messi’s family has settled down in Barcelona and enjoys life in this city, which is becoming more and more important to him.
People who are familiar with Messi say that they can hardly imagine Messi finding happiness in Manchester, Paris or Munich.
In conversations with the media, Messi often said that with the growth of his life experience, he is no longer the kid who hid all his thoughts in his heart many years ago and liked to sulki by himself. Messi feels more and more comfortable with leading the team in his own way. He is eager to win the Champions League trophy again as a member of Barcelona... If Barcelona fails to win, Messi does not like the outside world accusing him of being alone.
Compared to when he texted Guardiola on the team bus ten years ago, Messi has changed.
Although Messi is still the best player in the world, his power is not as great as many people think. However, Messi still has a mobile phone in his hands and he still hopes to keep the ball under his feet.