Messi has left Barcelona, but LaLiga promises drama once Real Madrid, Atletico, Sevilla begin

Julien Laurens reports on how PSG never imagined they would have the chance to sign Lionel Messi. (0:55).In the storied history of Spanish football, there has never been a prologue for a season like this. I'm not sure if the next nine months will produce the same drama as the last few weeks.It's not that Lionel Messi is leaving with a flood of tears. The unpalatable truth is that FC Barcelona made a historical dog's breakfast out of trying to keep their greatest player and one of the most important players of all time. They'd be unchallenged if there were awards for incomprehensible insensitivity.Barca's difficult day after Messi's exit to face JuventusMarcotti: How Messi and Barcelona were splitBarca fan files legal action against Messi's PSG moveDouble dealing and treachery have been witnessed, but it is not clear who or what extent.While the scale and extent of their debt (1.2 Billion) is now fully apparent, its destructive effects have not. The perfect gauge of the extent of Barca's problems will be how far President Joan Laporta goes in his shameful, but deeply injudicious Super League "pact” with Florentino Peruez and Juve's Andrea Agnelli.FC Barcelona is in financial ruin and have humiliatingly given their greatest-ever footballer over to a direct European competitor -- just as CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm, are waiting to inject 2.7bn in Spanish football. It seems like it could only happen here.It's dark, dark comedy.It remains to be seen if the CVC deal is worth it. Also, if the other clubs vote for Madrid or Barcelona, who have publicly expressed their disapproval and backed Javier Tebas, LaLiga president, remains to be seen. The possibility of a complete rupture exists if the other La Liga clubs want the money and are willing to accept the consequences. This is especially true considering that Madrid and Barcelona (plus Atletico at the beginning) have recently attempted to betray LaLiga by trying to seize control of the league and move on to another European league.Although there were no angry villagers outside Camp Nou shouting for revolution at the time of writing, anger is still in the air.It is easy to understand why.Messi is not the first legend at Barcelona, Real Madrid, to be cheated with a bitter, unworthy and unfair end to his career, but these are exceptional circumstances. It's possible to argue that he is the greatest footballer the sport ever produced. He is not, I repeat, not to be defined by his ridiculously high wages, his famous "burofax", stating that he wanted to quit a year ago, or his stats or trophies. And certainly not by any false rumour, that the upper ranks of the club have been dancing to his tune in recent years.The heartbreaking goodbye news conference by Messi was difficult for all who were there, but it was especially hard for the great-ever Barca player who couldn't believe that his time at Barca was over. Adria Puig/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesSince the beginning, we have been watching joy in boots. 16 years of blissful marriage have brought us joy. Someone who can make us laugh, swear in amazement, and let go of our worries and problems. At least temporarily.In my lifetime, I can't think of another person who has united people in this way, including fans of other clubs. He is the one I must see, on TV, documentaries, at night or in person. He has been the subject of worldwide adoration and now he is being betrayed. Betrayed by years and years of financial and football incompetence, (since 2015 at the earliest); betrayed and manipulated by his current caretakers who misled him for months and then lost their nerve at the end.- ESPN+ viewers' guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (U.S.)If football is your passion and you don't feel the same way about him on Sunday after all of his genius, you might consider switching to another sport.Play 2:04 Can Messi and PSG work together? Steve Nicol claims he doesn't see how Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe can't work.Despite president Laporta's quick talk last week, if it turns out that he not just agreed a new deal with Messi but also struck an agreement with Javier Tebas through which Messi could register his new contract with LaLiga -- it involved Barca accepting CVC investment -- then the Catalan then reneged at the last moment after conferring with Florentino Perez. Then there will be a bill. You can count on it.How do you explain these facts to the thousands of FC Barcelona socios who are disappointed and have paid fees?Real Madrid's most successful coach Zinedine Zidane has resigned. It's again. This is the second time this has happened in three years.It is possible to begin to suspect that things are not going well. Zidane is certainly better placed than most people to believe this.Leo #Messi will not continue with FC Barcelona FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 5, 2021Carlo Ancelotti has replaced him as a great man and a highly successful coach. He was the Madrid president who was fired in 2015 after winning four trophies in two seasons, including their first Champions League in 12 year.Ancelotti's subsequent book, "Quiet Leadership," revealed that the President [Florentino Peez ]...] said that we weren't doing enough. I tried to explain to him that the most important thing was not the length of the training sessions, but the intensity of them... he refused to listen. I was more trusted by the club than my numbers."Cristiano Ronaldo also wrote in the same book: "If Ancelotti's atmosphere was so great, it was because, among others, he protected his dressing room from the President." It's not surprising that Ancelotti is now Madrid's "right" man. Although he is a serial winner and exceptionally gifted, you wish him 1:43 What will Raphal Varane do with Man United's defense? The ESPN FC team examines all factors that could affect Raphal Varane's performance with the Manchester United defense.Perez is not only holding on to his super selfish Super League dream (perhaps best described as a nightmare), but he is also fighting a hidden enemy. These audio recordings were released in sequence over the past weeks, starting from 2006. Florentino has not only attacked club legends like Iker Casillas, Raul (both currently employed by the club), Guti and Ronaldo (whom he describes as an imbecile), Vicente del Bosque but also made clear his belief that the national media should be slavishly dedicated to his club or suffer his wrathful manipulation.It has been so clear that his private fury and the horrible terms in which it is expressed, that if these revelations had been made about any other player in Spanish football, this person's position could have been untenable.The worst part of the audio in football terms was the one that heard the president furious about the fact that he was engaged in a hypothetical fight over "whose club Real Madrid really was" -- "his" or “Raul's -- years ago. Florentino Perez, a club captain and striker, is quoted saying that he believes Real Madrid belongs "to him... he’s a negative guy... He’s destroying the club." Florentino actually attributes Raul's behavior to his resignation as president in February 2006.STREAM ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ Dan Thomas is joined with Craig Burley, Shaka Herlop, and other experts to bring you the most recent highlights and discuss the major storylines. Stream on ESPN+ (U.S only).The audio was stingy because it was the same hand-to-hand fight he had with Sergio Ramos over the past few weeks, which led to him losing one of the most important footballers and leaders the club has ever known.Ramos will be strengthening PSG this season instead of trying win LaLiga or drawing attention to Spanish football around the world.It seems that some presidents never learn.This raises the question: Who is releasing audio information in an apparent attempt to harm Florentino? Preseason plot thickens. This is where the misquote Oscar Wilde says it best: "To lose one center-half may be considered a misfortune, but to lose both seems like carelessness."Raphael Varane's continued service should have been a matter of paramount importance, as Ramos has already left. Instead, the Frenchman has already left and will be strengthening Manchester United. It is a grave mistake to lose both these leaders-warriors in Madrid's central defense at the same moment.Play 1:11 Will Atletico Madrid be in a position to defend their La Liga title, or will they lose? Gemma Soler explains how Atletico Madrid can defend their La Liga title from 2021-22.Positive news is that there are still amazing images of Santiago Bernabeu's renovation. The new Real Madrid stadium will host LaLiga action in September, perhaps even for the Celta Vigo test. It will be a magnificent place to watch and play football, and its new designation as an arena to host conferences, rallies and rock concerts, will provide Los Blancos with a lot more income.It's clear that this is a Florentino Perez masterpiece. However, plans to conceal the pitch underground (in fact, it will be under Madrid's main traffic artery, Paseo Castellana) in a sort of "laboratory" so the stadium can become a cash cow beyond matchdays are a tribute to Paul Burgess, who has since passed away. This comes as their bitter rivals, Barcelona are still several hundred light years away from starting the Camp Nou renovation. It is currently several seasons behind schedule.Florentino: Get another one.The drama at Spain's top clubs is so intense and so turbulent in the run-up to 2021-22 (and yes I know Atleti are reigning champions), that it is important to put them into context. This is actually a healthy picture. Spanish football is in a very healthy state, even though it could seem like there's a negative spin to the departures from Messi, Ramos, and Varane of LaLiga.Play 0:52 Luis Garcia reacts to Lionel Messi's final news conference. He says that he never could have imagined Lionel Messi leaving FC Barcelona in the manner he did today.The Spanish national football team was a better football team than England and Italy. Despite being in the semifinals of Euro 2020, the stats show that they are still the best footballing country in Europe.A mixed Spain team, which included several of the most exhausted players from the Euro who now need extensive holidays, won the Olympic silver medal in Japan. The Spain U21 side fell to a European Championship semifinalist against a rival that they had outplayed but couldn’t puncture.On Wednesday, Villarreal will face Chelsea in the UEFA Supercup. They do this as Europa League winners. This means that in 11 of the 13 previous seasons, a Spanish team has won either the Champions League or Europa League.- La Liga on ESPN+ : Stream LIVE games replays (U.S. Only)- Watch ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. Only)What will we see in the Spanish football season this year?Predicting a title winner is difficult for one.Sevilla is viewed as a "dark horse" opportunity due to the state of confusion at both the biggest clubs and the fact that Julen Lopetegui’s team was not that far behind Atleti last season in confidence, squad, or results. Monchi, the Sevilla's highly-skilled director of football throws you a curveball just when you think you have picked a reliable outsider.They have made some good signings, including Erik Lamela (from Tottenham), who looks intriguing and Marko Dmitrovic from Eibar, who is an outstanding goalkeeper. They need a hard-nosed, real goal scorer to win the league for first time since the Second World War. If they let Jules Kounde, their best defender, join Chelsea... who will be his replacement? Monchi doesn't need to be reminded that LaLiga starts on Friday, I'm certain.Play 1:30 Monchi has revolutionized Sevilla! Rob Palmer explains how Monchi was able to bring the best players in world football to Sevilla.Atleti have also been cautious in their purchases. However, Diego Simeone is delighted to welcome Rodrigo De Paul, a midfielder from Serie A, into the fold. Rarely does he get so excited about a signing... perhaps not since Luis Suarez was pushed out by the Barcelona nitwits.Atletico now boasts a team that can win back-toback Liga titles, for the first time since (count 'em!) 70 years of long service!You asked for it so here it is.Madrid can lure Mbappe to PSG if they do so, they will win the title. Barcelona with their incredible squad should win the title if they fail to. They will be joined by Sevilla and Atleti in the top four, I am certain.If you are looking for pure pleasure and not as much concern about trophies, you should watch Celta Vigo, the daring and thrilling Celta Vigo, and Real Betis. Real Sociedad, if everyone is fit, has a great chance of winning back the Copa del Rey which they held for just 14 days in May.Villarreal's verve and Valencia's "perma crisis" -- now before their volatile fans at the Mestalla -- Athletic Club under Marcelino trying to keep up with their Basque Country rivals, la Real... There will be thrills, spills, spectacular technique and nine months worth of sweet entertainment.It's hard to imagine how it could be as explosive, unpredictable, and jaw-dropping as the weeks leading up Valencia vs. Getafe this Friday in the 2021-22 season opener. Keep checking just in case.