After announcing that he wants to move out of Barcelona, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi on September 4 made it clear that he will stay at Camp Nou.
"I believed that the club needed more young players, new players and I thought my time in Barcelona was over. I felt very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here," Messi said in an interview to goal.com.
For long, his bond with Barcelona was nothing short of mythical. The Messiah came, transformed and conquered. The fans, players and everyone associated with the club saw him retiring there. So much so that, in the past, when Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was questioned whether his club will sign Messi, he said he wanted the Argentine to remain at Barcelona.
But all those dreams are broken now. The Argentine is clearly hurt and it is out of love for Barcelona that he has decided not to take them to court.
This throws up the question, can any supremely talented player remain at the same club forever? The Ballon d'Or winners are known to move to different clubs with record-breaking transfers.
Messi was touted to be an exception. But at least on this count, he is not.
In the 64-year history of the Ballon d'Or, two players have managed to restrict their senior careers to one club. Will Messi join them is the question...
Lev Yashin, the Soviet goalkeeping great, was popularly called ‘The Black Spider’. Throughout his entire club career, he played for only one club - Dynamo Moscow.
Yashin won the Ballon d'Or in 1963 and till date, he remains the only goalkeeper to have won the trophy.
'The Black Spider' kept around 275 clean sheets and saved a world-record 150-plus penalties for Dynamo Moscow and the Soviet Union, according to FIFA.
Florian Albert was a Hungarian footballer who played as a forward and was nicknamed 'The Emperor'.
Throughout his club career, Albert played for only one club, Ferencvarosi TC or Fradi, and continued to be part of the administration post his retirement.
Dubbed the most elegant player of the time, his performances in the 1966 World Cup tie against Brazil earned him a special place in football history. Altogether, he scored 31 goals in 75 appearances for the Hungarian national team.
In 1967, he beat Sir Bobby Charlton to become the first and only Hungarian to win the Ballon d'Or.
Albert scored 255 goals in 351 appearances between 1958 and 1974 for his club.
An honourable mention needs to be reserved for Italian midfielder Gianni Rivera, who played briefly for Alessandria and then moved to AC Milan for the rest of his career. Popularly known as the 'Golden Boy', he went on to win the Ballon d'Or in 1969.