1) Ernesto Valverde
The former Athletic Bilbao manager has seemingly stabilised Barcelona even in the short period he has had with the club. The club looked in dire need of a rebuild after their disappointing campaign last season, and Neymar’s departure only further exacerbated the situation, but Valverde has done remarkably well. He has brought Messi back to his favourite false nine roles, and the Argentine looks deadlier than ever. His signings too look like astute decisions despite the criticism, the likes of Deulofeu and Paulinho have been fairly consistent and could prove pivotal in the business end of the season. With the club seemingly back to its best, there is no reason for Messi to leave his beloved club.
2) Contract already in place
It is remarkable that Messi’s contract has been allowed to run down with the player free to speak to other clubs starting January. However, with Messi and his association with the fans, it is virtually unthinkable that Barcelona would not be his priority. In fact, the rumours coming out of the club suggest that Messi has already agreed to a contract with the club. Reports are suggesting that a lifetime contract has been agreed upon and the Argentine magician will sign it in the fourth quarter of 2017.
3) Andres Iniesta
Neymar’s departure, with a doubt, clearly destabilised the atmosphere around the club, more so, with the Brazilian’s comments about his perceived lack of faith in the Barca board. Those comments certainly had its drawbacks with the likes of Iniesta and Messi too tipped for a move away. Iniesta was even linked with a move to Juve, and the Spaniard did not do anything to silence those rumours. However, only after his recent contract signing that’s when things looked more positive. With the Spaniard committing his future to the club, the faith in the board is restored to a certain level, which is only a positive sign. How a friend can influence another’s decision is exemplified by Alves’ encouraging statements to convince Neymar, and as such, Messi too could well be influenced by Iniesta’s decision, with the duo having played together ever since his debut back in ’05.
4) City of Barcelona
The city of Barcelona has the power to allure just about anyone. The club, in itself, regularly recognises the city as the preponderance of FC Barcelona with the club often wearing red and yellow colours, the colours of Barcelona. Moreover, the city has been home to Messi since 2001, when he enrolled at the famed La Masia. His wife, Antonella, is the owner of a major fashion venture in the city alongside Suarez’s wife. Having stayed at the club for so long, he shares a great rapport with the likes of Iniesta, Pique and Busquets too, with the other players regularly eulogising the majestic Argentine. Therefore, the comfortable environment at Barcelona could be a decisive factor in Messi’s decision to end his career in Spain.
5) Future projects
The club’s continued faith in Messi is also an important factor. Despite signing Neymar to great fanfare about four years ago, Messi continued to be the face of the club. Neymar just could not get out of Messi’s shadows and eventually had to leave the club to make a name for himself. The prospective signs too are promising. The likes of Xavi, Pique will inevitably be a part of the future of the club, and their irrevocable support to Messi proves that he will remain an untouchable figure.