And at the other end of the table, former European champions Aston Villa were relegated from the Premier League today having been in the top flight for 29 years. In years to come, this season will be referred to as “The Twilight Zone Season”, or maybe “The EPL 2015-16, sponsored by Stephen King”.
See, at Messi’s age there’s now a chance - a tiny chance, granted, but a chance nonetheless - that a switch to another “Big” league might not prove quite as fruitful as he might hope, by his own phenomenal standards. I think we can all confidently say that he would have dominated any league in world football throughout his peak years so he has little to prove as I see it, although if a late-career move to England or Italy or to a big-money club elsewhere (Bayern, PSG etc) did turn out to be anticlimactic there’ll always be short-sighted cynics suggesting, however incorrectly, that that move somehow tarnished his standing globally and historically. There’s always the prospect of the mindbending wages he can guarantee himself if he were to opt for a move to Manchester (red OR blue) or Chelsea, but I’m sure he’s not exactly skint as it is.
I think it’d be understandable if he went to America, dazzling the MLS with skills they’ve never seen over there and genuinely enriching his team, his teammates and the entire league, all whilst being able to significantly reduce his workrate (probably extending his career into his forties if he wanted as a result). It’d be pretty cool too if he maybe took on a player/coach project at a modest Argentinian club, see what he can build from the ground up.
Of course, if he was contemplating a switch to West Ham - and why wouldn’t he? - he really should have done it back when he was still good enough for us. We have Dimitri Payet now though so we obviously don’t want to take the step down to Lionel. I suppose we could always do with someone to throw petals on the ground in front of Dimi wherever he walks, lift him over puddles, provide him with 24hr massage/grooming, fluff and fold all his underpants, sing personalised sonnets to him etc so, maybe. Actually, if he could utilize his fancy footwork to get that lot done AND find time to nip down to Costcutters twice a day to fetch Slaven Bilic’s ciggies, he could be a useful addition after all. I guess it’s up to him, how much he wants to apply himself.