That Legendary Napkin.

At the onset of Messi’s departure from Spain, we take a look at what he achieved with the Blaugrana.

The first contract on a napkin, wait what?

On December 14th 2000, Charly Rexach was anxiously talking to Jorge Messi at a bistro in Rosario, Santa Fe, trying to convince him that FC Barcelona is seriously interested in signing his son Lionel Messi however, the contract documentation is taking longer than anticipated. Being restless, Jorge communicated that Barcelona has until the end of today to offer the contract to them or else they will start looking at other options.

Charly, in the heat of the moment, asked the waiter to bring him a napkin and on that, Charly laid out a contract for Jorge, to sign his son for FC Barcelona. 21 years later, as Leo Messi leaves Barcelona, he broke the record of most goals scored in La Liga, most assist in La Liga, Most Hat-tricks in UCL and most Ballon D'or by a single player to name a few. Considered as the legend of the modern game, the numbers associated with Leo Messi’s time at Barcelona is simply absurd and it’s safe to say that Charly’s spur of the moment decision to write up a contract on a napkin for Leo Messi, was probably the greatest deal of business ever done by the club.

Messi at Barca, Here we go!

After his official debut in 2004, Messi won his first Champions League in 2006 though he did not play any part due to injury. After scoring that majestic header past Van Der Sar in Rome followed by a breathtaking spell of play, he truly became a star. He also won the European Golden Shoe at the end of the season. How can you make it better on a personal front?

Messi was summed up as a combination of a number 8 (a creator), a 9 (scorer), and a 10 (assistant) after he scored 73 goals and 29 assists (That is inhuman, we know that) in all competitions. Pep in an interview expressed his joy at working with Messi, he recalls. I wished to make Messi the best player in this world but it has been the other way round, he helped me become the best coach on this planet. Such has been Messi’s standard at FC Barcelona. Scoring goals and winning games have been aplenty for the little Argentinian, but his humane touch and selfless attitude have impacted FC Barcelona as well.

Having Pep at the helm wasn’t an apogee in his career, under Tito Vilanova. He broke Gerd Muller’s long-standing record of 85 goals in a calendar year in which Messi’s sublime form saw Barcelona break record after record. After largely staying injury-free for 4 successive seasons, 2013-14 was very erratic for Leo. His form dipped for the first time in his career and he was accused by the media of preparing himself for the World Cup 2014 with Argentina.

MSN and beyond…

Messi, Suarez and Neymar, abbreviated as MSN, were probably the greatest trio of attackers witnessed by our generation. The sheer fluidity and finesse of the things these guys did on the football pitch were breathtaking. But ever since Neymar left FC Barcelona for PSG, none of the parties could ever find that piece of magic on the biggest stage, the UEFA Champions League. Barcelona tried replacing Neymar with Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Malcolm and most recently Antoine Griezmann, but none of these signings replicated what Neymar brought to the football pitch. Leo was burdened 

On the other side, PSG’s mission to get that last piece of silverware, and probably the most important one the holy grail, the Champions League, has all but blinded them. The constant revolving door of managers and acquisitions of Neymar, Mbappe, Di Maria, Icardi to name a few have all been towards the European Glory. Many clubs across Europe have chased that elusive trophy for quite some time, but only a few are as determined as PSG. Now at the age of 34, Messi has been reunited with Neymar. The trio of Neymar, Mbappe and Messi can recreate the magic on the football pitch that the fans have been longing to see. Whether Messi is the final piece of PSG’s puzzle to win the Champions League or not, only time will tell, but for PSG, Lionel Messi is the best player money could buy, quite literally.