It’s difficult to find a player that is as important to their club as Lionel Messi is to Barcelona.
That’s why, when their relationship comes to an end sooner or later, it’s not easy to gage the impact that his exit will have on the Blaugrana.
One comparison we can make is that of Michael Jordan, whose departure rocked the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan left the Bulls in 1998 after winning his sixth NBA ring and, curiously, Messi could leave Barcelona after receiving his sixth Ballon d’Or.
In what is a bad omen for Barcelona, the Bulls haven’t won a single title since Jordan left in 1998.
Furthermore, MJ’s exit sparked a major revolution of the team, with coach Phil Jackson and iconic players like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman also departing.
A similar changing of the guard could take place at the Camp Nou as Ronald Koeman attempts to move the likes of Luis Suarez on this summer.
Another interesting parallel between the two cases is that Barcelona and the Bulls both suffered from financial problems.
This year, the Catalan club have faced the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down the season for three months, while the Bulls were involved in the NBA lockout of 1998 to 1999.
On a marketing level, Jordan has left a lasting legacy – he’s still the player with the most shirt sales for the Bulls.
As for Messi, Barcelona could be losing out big time if he and is marketing value were allowed to leave the club.
What is for sure is that Messi leaving will not spell the end for Barcelona, who were a hugely successful club before he arrived.
However, it’s hard to imagine the Blaugrana without their franchise player as uncertainty over their future grows by the day.