In the early hours of yesterday morning, Leo Messi played the first match of his career as a free agent, representing the Argentina national team without being attached to any domestic club. The situation is strange, because Barça haven't managed to reach an agreement with the player or overcome all of the obstacles that have appeared during the three-and-a-half months since Joan Laporta assumed the presidency of the club.
The fact that his contract has expired in the middle of the Copa América represents a risk for Leo Messi who, strangely enough, has been accused of not showing his commitment to Barça.
If he had prioritised his own career over the success of the club, Leo Messi would already have signed for Manchester City or PSG: clubs which are capable of offering him a higher salary and a more attractive sporting project. He would also stand a better chance of winning titles with these clubs than at Barça, who so far this window have only signed two back ups from Manchester City and a player from Ligue 1.
As things stand, Messi is hardly presented with an amazing sporting project at Barcelona. Despite this, he has decided to stay at the club that signed him when he was 13 years-old and wait for the club to reduce their wage bill so that they can abide by LaLiga rules and offer him a new contract. Messi, without needing to open his mouth, has shown his commitment to Barcelona.
How many players are currently in Messi's situation? Very few. In EURO 2020, there's only one player whose national team is still in the competition and who is currently a free agent: Giorgio Chiellini. In the Copa América, there are two Peruvian players (Luis Abram and Wilder Cartagena) who find themselves in the same situation as Messi. None of these players are comparable to Messi. None of these players would give up a signing-on bonus for joining a club as a free agent. None of them have as much at stake as Leo.