Rio Ferdinand has said Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi may consider leaving the club following their 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich on Friday.
The Blaugrana conceded four goals in either half as they were put to the sword by the rampant Bundesliga champions in the Champions League quarter-final.
The result will likely see several changes made at Barcelona, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu hinting as much after the match.
Head coach Quique Setien and director of football Eric Abidal are among those rumoured to be departing, while Bartomeu himself may not be safe with presidential elections set to take place next year.
No departure would hurt Barca nearly as much as Messi, though, with the club still reliant on the 33-year-old superstar.
Messi’s contract expires next year and he has yet to sign a renewal, leaving many to ponder the previously unthinkable scenario of the Argentine playing for another club.
Ferdinand is among that group, with the former Man Utd defender wondering if Messi has the patience to stay at Camp Nou through a rebuild.
“The question is what is Messi thinking? What is he thinking going home tonight?” Ferdinand said on BT Sport.
“The level of performances that club has given and how the squad is looking at the moment in comparison to other teams around Europe. That’s the big question he will be thinking about.
“Has he got the time to sit there and wait? Football comes and goes very quickly in your life so these next two years, where he is going to have power to influence games the way he does.
“Is he going to want to do that not competing for the big titles? I don’t know.”
Another former Man Utd star, Owen Hargreaves, added that Barca do not have the talent around Messi that they did during the club’s heyday under Pep Guardiola.
“[Luis] Suarez and Messi are looking round thinking ‘I miss Iniesta, Xavi, I miss [Carles] Puyol’ because those guys aren’t there any more,” Hargreaves said.
“Ansu Fati came on and he looked great, but he’s a 17-year-old kid.
“The gap between Messi and who’s going to be next, you can’t [see them being successful].”