WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES

…and it’s dropped to Meessssiiiiiii!

Europa League
Never fear, the answer to Arsenal’s creativity issues is here - The Warm-Up
4 HOURS AGO

We’ve seen toilet roll ransacked. Schools shut down for months. Hugs banned.

But if someone visited you from the future last December and gave a blow-by-blow account of 2020, we suspect Lionel Messi's demand to leave Barcelona is where you’d finally go, ‘stop, now this is ridiculous’.

Seriously, what is happening? The logic dictates that Messi’s request is just a bartering tactic, that he doesn’t really want to leave, that it’s a souped up version of Sergio Ramos' flirtations with Manchester United in 2015.

But in the current climate, it feels legit. Barcelona haven’t got money to spend. Their squad is awful. They just lost 8-2 in 90 minutes to the best team in Europe. Messi’s best mate was binned by his new boss after a 60-second phone call. Club legend Carlos Puyol applauded his stance on social media, a tweet that was quickly commended by Luis Suarez who, despite the above call, STILL PLAYS FOR BARCELONA. Madness.

And it leaves us in the glorious unknown. No one knows what happens next (except the time machine guy). So naturally, the Warm-Up had a little stalk of Messi’s social media.

Our findings? Well, Messi follows only two clubs on Instagram that he has never played for: Manchester City and Chelsea. Two clubs that just so happens, along with PSG, Manchester United and possibly Inter Milan, could afford his astronomical wages.

But for now, let's just enjoy the ride and soak up the greatest transfer bombshell any of us have lived through...

'You put your centre-back in, put your centre-back out'

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

Harry Maguire should have his own verse in the Hokey Cokey, such was the speed he was whisked in and out of the England squad. But his not-so-cryptic Instagram quote above suggests this tale is far from over.

Given that court cases are rarely exciting, and details here are still very sketchy, we’ll make a couple of remarks and move on:

  • Maguire's alleged comments – "Do you know who I am? I am the captain of Manchester United, I am very rich, I can give you money, I can pay you, please let us go" – sound awfully scripted. And don't take our word for it, listen to Jamie Carragher (of Liverpool and 'spat on my daughter' fame).
  • Raheem Sterling got more flak for buying a house and attending Usain Bolt's birthday party

And the madness continues

How else would you round off a day involving a GOAT transfer request and a suspended prison sentence for Manchester United’s captain?

Obviously with a transfer saga involving the best player at the 2014 World Cup and the 12th best Premier League team. And the worst thing is, after the year we’ve had, it sounds entirely plausible.

James Rodriguez is close to sealing a deal to play at Everton next season, report the Telegraph. He's 29. And about to start feeding Dominic Calvert-Lewin and squabbling over a starting spot with Tom Davies. What a time to be alive.

IN THE CHANNELS

Including this solely because one of the Warm-Up's colleagues supports Wycombe Wanderers.

HAT TIP

What once seemed impossible, almost laughable, now could become reality and if it does, could you really blame Messi? The relationship between he and the club is clearly not one of respect if they continue to operate in the manner they have up until this point. Why would he continue to bail out this board who he doesn’t share a good relationship with?

One bloke who predicted this whole Messi affair was Eurosport's very own Pete Sharland. Here are his updated thoughts after last night's revelations.

RETRO CORNER

Grab a hankie, Barcelona fans, and relieve your man’s seminal moment:

COMING UP

Those of a Scottish persuasion, or at least Celtic fans, will be all over Champions League qualifying. Otherwise, put your feet up and keep hitting refresh on Manchester City's Twitter feed.

Andi Thomas will be here tomorrow to tell you this Messi nonsense was all a hoax

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