Lionel Messi has 164 million followers on Instagram but follows just 230 accounts – four of which are football clubs.
Of course he follows Barcelona, where he’s played the entirety of his professional career – but he is essentially trying to unfollow the Blaugrana in real life after informing the club of his desire leave this summer on Tuesday night.
So, do Messi’s other Instagram follows give any indication as to where he wishes to move? Well, he does follow both Chelsea and Manchester City, who have both been linked with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The Chelsea links have largely come about from former Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand claiming he’s in the know on Twitter, but the interest and willingness from City to do a deal is genuine and comes from multiple reliable journalists and outlets.
Lastly, the other football club he follows on the social media platform is his former team Newell’s Old Boys. Messi started the early part of his youth career with his boyhood club, who he has regularly talked about returning to in the future.
According to Ole. a young Messi notched an outrageous 234 goals in 176 games between the years 1994 and 1999 before he made the move to Barcelona’s La Masia academy and embarked on a special journey in Catalonia.
Fast forward to the present day though and Messi has grown disillusioned with the situation at Barcelona, who sacked manager Quique Setien and replaced him with Ronald Koeman following the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter final.
He made the bombshell announcement via burofax, with the document leaked online.
Translated, the message reads: “By means of this letter, I, Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini, with a white ID [blank], request that the employment benefit contract that I currently occupy in your distinguished club be terminated, based on clause number 24 that allows me to have this power.
“I appreciate all the opportunities for personal growth and professional preparation that were offered to me during the time I worked.
“Learnings that allowed me to consolidate my technical and human profile, but for personal reasons this [blank] difficult decision was made to me, which I hope will be made in the best way by the management of this club.”
Though his release clause is set at €700 million, Messi has requested that Barcelona refer to the clause in his contract that allows him to leave for a free at the end of each season.