The old saying goes “nobody one player is bigger than the club.”
Apparently that doesn’t apply to everyone.
With Lionel Messi’s contract situation becoming suddenly more dire after Barcelona was obliterated by Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League first leg, leaving the second leg just a formality, it suddenly feels like the superstar could realistically leave Barcelona, an unthinkable idea just a year ago. It seems the players feel that way too.
“[Messi] is indispensable, but the rest of us are dispensable,” Javier Mascherano told Barcelona’s official magazine. “Leo is a unique player. We’re talking about the best player in history, for this club and for the sport. Important people have left Barca in recent years, people that will stay in the club’s history, but the team still works, it still wins.
“No, the club is bigger than any manager, than any player… except Leo. That’s the reality, and you have to accept it.”
Messi will turn 30 years old this summer, and the club is under pressure with the La Liga salary restrictions. Luis Suarez and Neymar have both already signed two huge deals, and Spanish clubs are only allowed to allocate up to 70% of their total expenditures on player salaries. The rules are an attempt to stop the bleeding of Spanish clubs spending irresponsibly over the past decade.
This has caused a contentious back and forth between player and club that has become more and more tense.
We know how Javier Mascherano feels, and it seems that some players believe it’s worth the club mortgaging its ability to fill out a talented roster to keep Messi at Barcelona the rest of his playing career.