Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola, has acknowledged that Barcelona will face a torrid time of readjustment when Lionel Messi's era at Catalonia comes to an end.
Messi is currently playing his 16th season as a senior player in Barcelona’s first-team outfit and he is the club's all-time record goalscorer, with 622 goals in 711 appearances across all competitions.
To his exploits for the Catalan giants, he has six Ballon d'Ors to his name, securing his place in the Apex list of football greats. But the Argentine is closer to the end of his career than he ever was to the start and Barcelona will have to consider how to face the prospect of life without him.
Pep Guardiola granted an interview with the Spanish YouTube channel, ‘Post United.’ When asked whether Barcelona will be impacted by Messi's exit as severely as Real Madrid was when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus in 2018, he replied:
"It is inevitable, these players are so important. When Messi leaves Barca they will need some time to re-adjust. It is inevitable. These guys score 40 or 50 goals a season."
The speculations surrounding Messi's future at Barcelona have been reignited following the 33-year-old’s open criticism of the sporting director, Eric Abidal.
Abidal had claimed that Barcelona’s players were partly responsible for Ernesto Valverde’s sack in January but Messi hit out at his former teammate for not naming the individual players.
“When you talk about players, you have to give names because if not, it gives air to things which are not true,” Messi wrote on his Instastory.
Messi would be out of contract next summer but there is a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave for free at the end of this season