Barcelona: Messi can leave at the end of the season - Paper Round
Lionel Messi can leave next summer, while he asks if Barcelona tried to sign Neymar, Mark Sampson is under investigation and Raheem Sterling could join Pepsi.
Messi can leave for free
Barcelona remain calm despite the fact that Lionel Messi can leave for free at the end of the season. Messi has an agreement that allows him to walk away, and he has reportedly been contacted by David Beckham about joining MLS side Inter Miami, according to the Sun. Vice president Jordi Cardoner said: "He can enter and leave the club when he sees fit.”
Paper Round’s view: Messi seems fit as ever and done not appear to be betraying any sense of fatigue, either physical or mental. It is hard to believe that he does not want to win at least one more Champions League before leaving elsewhere, and that might be a double-edged sword for Barcelona when they do ultimately win the trophy again.
Messi: I don’t know if Barca tried for Neymar
In another Messi-themed story, Spanish newspaper Marca reports that the Barcelona forward was not necessarily convinced by his team’s attempts to sign Neymar this summer. Many Barcelona players were reportedly keen on bringing back Neymar to Spain, but Messi admitted: "Honestly, I don't know if Barcelona did everything possible to ensure his return. However, it is certainly true that negotiating with PSG isn't easy.”
Neymar - Paris Saint-GermainGetty Images
Paper Round’s view: There is a suspicion that Barcelona did not move for Neymar until the end of the transfer window because it meant they could get more straightforward business done, including spending more than 100 million euros on Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann. If the move proves successful, then the Barca squad will likely be able to move forward without any sense of recrimination.
Sampson in new row
Former England women’s national team boss Mark Sampson has been caught up in a new race row, reports the Daily Mail. Eni Aluko expressed her concerns about Sampson’s jokes that appeared to be racist, and the paper now reports that, “The FA are investigating after receiving a complaint about an alleged racially discriminatory comment made during a conversation about potential transfer targets earlier this month.”
Paper Round’s view: It is too early to comment on the details of the new investigation, but it is fair to say that the FA’s repeated investigations of Sampson do not ultimately paint a picture of a man who should be given a job as a manager. Stevenage may have taken a risk with Sampson that has ended as many had feared.
Sterling to sign huge new sponsorship deal
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling could be in line for a huge windfall as he joins Pepsi’s commercial team. Sterling’s success on the pitch means he could join up with Paul Pogba and Lionel Messi in a deal to be announced before next summer’s European Championships. The England international highlighting a continued problem with racism in football has also put him at the forefront of the game.
Paper Round’s view: Sterling is one of the very best players in the world and will continue to get even better under Pep Guardiola, if the two of them remain at Manchester City. However he deserves just as much credit for taking on the endemic racism that lingers on in football and beyond that in wider society.