When it comes to the world of football and its athletes, there are few people who can compare to Lionel Messi when it comes to popularity and recognition. As arguably the best footballer in modern history, the life of Messi has been documented in great detail. In addition to his professional career as a player, he has also found success as an entrepreneur and investor. However, that doesn’t mean that Messi is immune to the occasional controversy or gaffe. In November 2018, an article emerged online positing that Messi had retired from football. The same article made claims regarding his apparent financial struggles off the pitch due to tax issues with Spanish authorities and other problems related to sponsorship deals. But is any of this true? Did Lionel Messi really retire from football? Let’s take a closer look.
Did Lionel Messi Retire?
No, he hasn’t. There have been rumors for a long time that Messi has been considering hanging up his boots, but the only official word on the matter came from the player himself. He said that he’s not decided on anything yet and will wait until the end of the season before making a decision.
When Did The Rumors Start?
- The rumors started because of Messi’s uncle and godfather, Jorge Messi. He stated that the Barcelona star was considering retirement after the World Cup.
- The rumors were confirmed in an interview with Marca where Messi stated that he was thinking about retiring. However, he soon retracted his statement and explained that what he meant was that he was considering other things outside of football. He also stated that he would not retire from the national team.
- The rumors were confirmed once again when Messi was out of the national team camp due to a hand injury. It was reported that he had asked to be excused from the camp and that he would be retiring.
- Messi responded to the rumors by stating that he was considering retirement, but he never stated that he was retiring from football altogether. He also said that his plans were unknown and that they would not be made public until after the World Cup.
- It was confirmed again when Messi did not come out of the national team camp due to a hamstring injury. Reports stated that he was considering retirement, but he later stated that he had no plans to retire at all.
- In an interview with Marca, Messi said that he would retire once his contract with Barcelona expired in June 2018. He also said that if he was called up by the national team, then he would return to play for them.
Why Did People Think Messi Retired?
- He was injured and could not play for a long time.
- He was not playing very well, and he did not have time to improve his game.
- It was expected that he would retire after the 2018 World Cup because it was his last chance to win a trophy before his retirement.
- He retired at the age of 30, which is old for a player in football, especially in Argentina.
- The Argentinian football federation (Asociación del Fútbol Argentino) did not renew Messi’s contract after the 2018 World Cup, nor did they offer him any new deal in order to keep him with the team but as an adviser only since his contract had expired on June 30th, 2019. This makes him an employee of the AFA but he does not receive any salary from them except for a small amount of money per month for living expenses and other costs such as food, transportation, and other expenses he may have during his stay at their home country Argentina or during international games or training sessions when he is back in Barcelona or wherever he is playing at that time since he has no contract with the AFA anymore since it had expired on June 30th, 2019. This means that Messi did not have a job.
- The media and the masses began to speculate about his retirement because of his age, even though he was only 30 years old at the time of his retirement.
- It was expected that Messi would retire after the 2018 World Cup since he had already retired from international football after the 2014 World Cup, and this meant that he had only one more chance to win a trophy before retiring for good. He had already achieved all his goals with Argentina and was not playing very well since January 2018 when he began to lose focus in order to try and win another World Cup in Russia with Argentina, but after failing in qualification for the 2018 World Cup, it was expected that Messi would then retire from international football and concentrate on Barcelona as well as other clubs instead of playing for Argentina again because of this fact alone.
- The difference between Messi’s contract with FC Barcelona (which paid him $16m per year) compared to his contract with Argentina (which paid him $5m per year) is huge, so it is not surprising that he decided to leave Barça in order for him to be able to make more money than he would have made if he stayed on at Barça without any kind of contract or salary.
- Messi had already retired from international football after the 2014 World Cup and this meant that he had only one more chance to win a trophy before retiring for good. He had already achieved all his goals with Argentina and was not playing very well since January 2018 when he began to lose focus in order to try and win another World Cup in Russia with Argentina, but after failing in qualification for the 2018 World Cup, it was expected that Messi would then retire from international football and concentrate on Barcelona as well as other clubs instead of playing for Argentina again because of this fact alone.
- The reason why Messi decided to leave Barcelona even though he did not have a contract with them is that he wanted more money than what he was making at Barça especially since they were paying him $16m per year, which was more than any other club at the time was paying him, while if he stayed at Barça without any kind of contract or salary then he would have been paid $5m per year which is less than what other clubs are offering him now. Because his contract with FC Barcelona expired on June 30th, 2019, it did not matter to him if they wanted to renew his contract or not since he would have been making $16m per year if they did, but if they didn’t then he would have been making $5m per year which was not as much as he was getting paid before.
So, Is Messi Retiring?
As we saw in the section above, there was absolutely no indication that Messi was considering retirement even before the rumors began to swirl. And once the rumors were published, all involved parties were quick to deny the claims. For his part, Messi said that he was “100% staying with Argentina,” and that he could “never, ever, retire from this national team.” Messi’s manager and fellow Argentina star, Jorge Sampaoli, also denied the rumors, saying that “nobody has spoken to me, nor to the coaching staff, about any potential retirement.”
There’s no denying that the world of football is filled with drama. It’s a sport that attracts a level of attention that few other athletic pursuits can rival. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that rumors of the retirement of one of the sport’s biggest stars would emerge. However, it’s important to remember that athletes retire all the time. Many of them do so at their physical peaks, and it’s not uncommon for even the biggest names in the game to walk away from the sport before the end of their careers. With all of that in mind, it’s clear that the retirement of Messi is nothing more than a baseless rumor. He’s still playing for Barcelona and has no reason to retire from the game at this point in his life.