In a stunning about turn, Lionel Messi has vowed to see out the final year of his contract with Barcelona.
The Messi divorce rumblings have been going on for weeks now and finally it seems to be settled.
The Barca skipper made no secret of his annoyance with the Blaugrana having surrendered the 2020 La Liga title meekly to Real Madrid, and then suffering the humiliation of a 8-2 hammering at the hands of FC Bayern in the Champions League.
Only a few days ago, it he looked destined to rejoin his old boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
But when officials ruled that the 700-M Euro release clause in his contract could be enforced by his club, the proposed move hit the skids.
Yesterday, Messi did a 180-degree turn and committed himself to another 12 months at the Camp Nou.
“It’s the club of my life, I’m settled here. Barca have given me everything and I’ve given them everything. The idea of taking Barca to trial never crossed my mind,” said Messi.
Having missed the first five days of training, Messi must now take himself back into the Barca fold.
It might be an uneasy and awkward situation. But once the new season starts, the Blaugrana talisman is sure to give his all for the club he has served since he was 13 years old.
And for their part, the Catalan club will pay out the £63-M annual loyalty bonus due for their captain.
So seemingly that’s the end of the Messi saga, but we don’t have to go far for the next piece of trending La Liga 2020 news.
Barca striker Luis Suarez has not been happy since the arrival of Ronald Koeman at the Camp Nou, particularly after the former Netherlands boss told the Uruguayan hitman he wasn’t wanted – apparently in a 60-second phone call!
Italian media outlets are reporting that the 33-year-old former Liverpool star could be on his way to nine-time Scudetto winners Juventus. He is reported to be close to agreeing a deal with I Bianconeri but like Messi, he has business to finish with his existing employers as he is yet to agree a severance package.
Once that is settled, Suarez then needs to apply for Italian citizenship to comply with Serie A squad regulations and his wife Sofia Balbi is already an Italian citizen.
In terms of incomings at the Camp Nou, Koeman seems keen to bring some of his Dutch compatriots to Catalonia, including Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum.
There may be some way to go with that one, but one rumour which does seem to have legs is the potential switch of Memphis Depay from Lyon to Barcelona.
Depay starred in the Netherlands’ 1-0 Nations League victory over Poland last night and Koeman is a big admirer of the former Manchester United winger.
40-M Euros would probably be enough to secure the deal and that would begin the rebuild for the Blaugrana.
2020/21 season just a week away
It doesn’t seem long since La Liga 2019/20 came to a climax, but the new season kicks off next Friday 11th September when Granada and Athletic Bilbao raise the curtain on a new campaign.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid start the new season in search of a 35th title and the early La Liga 2020 betting odds have Los Blancos as favourites, marginally ahead of Barcelona, whose odds may start to drop after the news of Messi’s U-turn sinks in.
We have three new names to welcome in the top flight with Cadiz, Huesca, and Elche CF promoted from the Segunda Division to replace the relegated Leganes, Real Mallorca, and Espanyol.
Valencia-based Elche will have to wait to start with their opening game against Barcelona postponed to give the Blaugrana more time to recover from their European exploits.
Similarly, Real Madrid’s match against Getafe is on hold and Los Blancos will open their campaign with a difficult trip away to Real Sociedad.
Meanwhile, Barcelona fans will have to wait until the September 27th before they can see their team begin its campaign to wrestle the title of their fierce rivals.
They have a tough test against Villarreal, who finished the 2020 season impressively to qualify for Europa League football in fifth place.
There is still no firm date when fans can expect to be back in the stadiums, though small attendance pilots have been successfully trialled in football and rugby.
We’ll get back to normal soon enough. But in the meantime, you can keep up with all the latest news, updates, and match reports from all four of the big European leagues right here at SBOTOP.
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