With the news of Messi leaving Barcelona for free after a new contract couldn’t be signed due to economic issues, the club can only look to the future on who will replace the star at the club.
Messi started his career with Barcelona and rose to become arguably the best player in the world with 6 Ballon d’Ors to his name, multiple golden boots, amazing records, and numerous titles.
Nobody expected this day and most Barcelona fans never believed a day would come when Messi would leave for free.
Even former manager, Pep Guardiola once said Messi would retire in Barcelona when he was quizzed about signing the Argentine for Man City.
With that being said, Barcelona has to look inwards for who will step into the boots of Messi and take the reigns at this time.
Here are five players that could step up and become the next big star Barcelona need right now.
1. Ansu Fati
The 18-year-old has started on a very good note with 31 appearances and 11 goals before he had a long-term injury.
Ansu Fati plays the same position as Messi when he started at 19 and has already shown how amazing he is on the ball and off the ball.
Fati might have to step up bigger this time that Messi would no longer be in the fold. He also has time ahead of him to develop and get better.
Pedri is also 18 years old and he is a central midfielder. In the 20/21 season, Pedri played 37 games for Barcelona and was rarely given some rest by the manager, this shows how good he is.
Barcelona manager, Ronald Koeman has so much faith in Pedri that he doesn’t get rest at all.
Pedri has shown his confidence on the ball, ability to read the game and understand the runs of players. These are not skills that are taught and the youngster is already amazing at it.
He could be the star Barcelona need at this time.
3. Ousmane Dembele
Dembele has not really lived up to his hype after he was purchased to replace Neymar. The 24-year-old French forward has had some amazing games but injuries have hindered him.
Messi also commented on him saying “On the pitch he’s a phenomenon” and added “he could be one of the best”.
Dembele has played 81 games for Barcelona and scored 18 goals so far. He would have to step up now that there is no Leo Messi to bail out the team in difficult times.
4. Memphis Depay
The 27-year-old Dutch forward just signed for Barcelona and would have expected that he would be playing alongside Messi this season, but it doesn’t seem likely right now.
He would have to step up and show why Koeman has a lot of faith in him.
Depay has a good goalscoring record in his previous clubs, scoring 63 goals in 139 appearances for Lyon before joining Barcelona.
The forward would have to take the bull by the horns and make sure Messi is not missed when the new season starts.
5. Sergio Aguero
What else can be said about Aguero? He is the highest goalscorer in Manchester City history before joining Barcelona for free, he is a proven goalscorer and has played in La Liga before, he has the experience to lead the frontline of a top team like Barcelona.
What he doesn’t have is his best friend, Leo Messi.
Aguero and Messi are best friends and this would hurt him more than most people as he joined just to play with him.
The 33-year-old is on this list because he is a proven star and the best scorer in the Barcelona team right now that Messi is no longer in the picture.
He would have to be the go-to guy when the team is down and always have to pull out a trick from his hat. Given his record, it is something he can do just that age is no longer on his side and that much pressure at that age could tell on him sooner than later.
Sergio might not be who Barca want to be looking up to for years to come, but he is the one they have to look up to right now.
Barcelona is now in a fix as the league starts in less than two weeks and they would be without the best player in the world.
The players have to step up and all the players listed above have to show why they deserve to be Barcelona's next big star.
Barcelona fans demand full explanation from club over Messi's exit
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Barcelona fans have continued to express mixed feelings over the departure of club legend Lionel Messi and they are demanding a full explanation from club authorities.
The world was stunned on Thursday night, August 5, when news broke that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will no longer continue at the club.
The entire Catalunya remains eclipsed in grief, disbelief and ultimately sorrow as Barcelona supporters continue to express emotions.
Article done by Oluwatoyin Tobiloba