Lionel Messi has given his biggest indication yet that he would be interested in a move to Chelsea after he followed the club on Instagram.
While that is hardly enough for Chelsea fans to immediately start getting the Argentine forward’s name on the back of their shirts, the fact that it comes on the same day that he missed training, and just 24 hours after Barcelona lost to Real Sociedad, sparking the release of row rumors between the soccer icon and Barcelona’s manager, Luis Enrique, is enough to suggest that things really are amiss between Messi and the club.
So how did all of this hullabaloo begin? Well it appears as though Real Sociedad’s 1-0 victory over the Catalan side on Sunday evening sparked the unrest.
Jordi Alba’s own goal in just the second minute of the contest was enough to secure the three points for David Moyes’ side, while Barcelona was unable to generate an equalizer, despite having over 88 minutes to do so. In fact, like they have done for much of the season, they put in a sub-par performance.
Both Lionel Messi and Neymar started on the bench for the encounter, and speculation soon exploded after the defeat that Luis Enrique had fallen out with these star players.
On Monday, it was then reported by ESPNFC that Messi had actually missed training earlier that day as he was suffering from gastroenteritis. The club released a statement on their official website that confirmed this was the reason for Messi’s absence.
“Rafinha and Leo Messi missed Monday morning’s open doors training session. The Argentinian has an upset stomach and Rafinha is suffering from an ear infection. The Club doctors will decide over the coming days when they are able to resume training.”
This would also explain why Messi wasn’t started against Sociedad, and was only brought on as a half-time substitute.
However, on the same day that he missed training, Lionel Messi decided to follow several Chelsea players as well as the side themselves on Instagram, and in doing so only increased speculation that he wants to join Jose Mourinho’s side.
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) January 5, 2015
Over the last few months, Lionel Messi has repeatedly been linked with a transfer to either Stamford Bridge or Manchester City. These rumors were started after Messi himself declared back in November that he didn’t know where his future lay, and teased that there was discontent between himself and Barcelona.
Of course this could all still be a coincidence. As could the fact that he also followed Chelsea’s Filipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois on Monday too.
But according to Spain’s Mundo Deportivo, via Yahoo!, Messi also had a huge argument with Luis Enrique during a five-a-side training match on Friday. The pair were allegedly close to coming to blows during the falling out, which was the result of Enrique giving a decision against Messi’s five-a-side team.
Graham Hunter of Sky Sports also confirmed to the channel’s Revisita de la Liga show that Messi and Enrique had fallen out in training, before adding that so had Neymar and Luis Suarez, and then criticising Enrique for how he handled the disagreement.
“On Friday there was a row on the training ground between Neymar and Suarez and also a row between Messi and Enrique, who was refereeing one of those training games.
“Fine. That happens a lot. But then he doesn’t start Messi and the game is atrocious. Then suddenly Messi has got gastroenteritis and doesn’t train. Now that’s really handy isn’t it?
“Messi is in the middle of a power-play and Enrique’s post is in jeopardy, for a number of reasons.”
It’s looking more and more likely that Luis Enrique’s position at Barcelona is becoming untenable — especially since the club’s assistant sporting director, Carlos Puyol, and their director of football, Andoni Zubizarreta, resigned and were sacked on Monday too, according to Yahoo!.
Barcelona fans will be adamant that Messi stays with the club at any cost. And if that means that Luis Enrique needs to be sacked in order for him to continue playing at the Nou Camp then they wouldn’t blink an eye.
[Image via GLB]