Lionel Messi has a massive fan base on social media, with the Argentinian soccer player boasting hundreds of millions of followers on platforms like Instagram.
And it makes sense why so many people would want to keep up with the daily exploits of this talented player.
For one, he’s been at the top of the sport in terms of individual brilliance for the better part of nearly two decades!
But even though Messi has so many followers who subscribe to see the pictures and videos he posts, the player himself follows less than 300 other accounts.
What that tells you is that he likes to keep his circle small, despite the fact that he’s a globally recognized superstar.
However, one question that a lot of people are curious to know is why Messi follows Chelsea Football Club through his own account.
It’s well known that a lot of journalists and media outlets have used the fact that a player has followed a certain club on social media as an indication of them wanting a transfer move to said team.
So, why has Messi followed Chelsea and allowed room for such speculation about the future of his career to exist?
Well, there are a couple of plausible reasons.
Let’s start with a quick overall summary though…
Messi arguably followed Chelsea on Instagram back in 2015 as a way of trying to voice his frustration and unhappiness at Barcelona, who he represented at the time. He knew the move would have fueled speculation at a potential transfer away from Spain, so he may have done this to put pressure on the Catalan club.
To fully understand why he was unhappy, you have to read the entirety of this article to get the full picture, as it goes through this and other possible motives for him following the London club.
Reasons why Lionel Messi follows Chelsea on Instagram
First and foremost, let’s be clear about one thing.
There are no hard facts as to why Lionel Messi decided to hit the follow button on Chelsea’s official Instagram account.
As fans, we can only speculate based on the information that was available at the time, which is what this article is intending to do.
So, here are a few possibilities:
1. Unhappiness at Barcelona
Back in 2015 when Messi made the decision to follow Chelsea on Instagram, all was not well within the Barcelona camp.
For starters, the club hired a new manager in Luis Enrique, and his more direct tactical approach may not have sat well with the Argentinian.
Barcelona are a club with a playing philosophy that’s usually set in stone – tiki taka.
Now, because Luis Enrique was looking to bypass the midfield more often through quicker transitions from the back of the field to the front, it’s possible that Messi wasn’t happy with this new way of playing.
Subsequently, he could have followed Chelsea as a way of telling people at the club that he wasn’t content with the situation and evaluating his sporting options.
As well as being at loggerheads with the direct style of play, the results at the time were not flattering.
Barcelona uncharacteristically lost a couple of games at the beginning of the season.
And in one of those fixtures against Real Sociedad, Messi was sat on the bench for the entirety of the first half.
Lionel Messi on the bench?
You definitely don’t see that very often, especially when the player isn’t carrying any sort of injury.
Messi was also known to have skipped practice for some apparent stomach trouble, something that his team mate Xavi questioned as he claimed that gastroenteritis is typically an excuse for another issue.
When you put all these incidents together, you can see that it does make sense that Messi would be unhappy at the existing environment at the club.
Following Chelsea could have been a way of putting pressure on the higher ups at Barcelona to shuffle things internally or he actually may have been looking to leave!
2. Gaining leverage in contract negotiations
During his mid-twenties, Lionel Messi was a phenomenon who couldn’t be replaced by Barcelona.
His goal scoring exploits at the time were simply off the charts, and Messi surely knew of his value to the Catalan giants.
91 goals in the 2012 calendar year is justifiable proof of this
And when you consider the fact that Neymar’s arrival at the club changed the wage dynamic – as he was rumored to be on the same amount of money that Messi was earning at the time – it sort of makes sense that Messi’s camp would look to make a calculated move to gun for a contract extension.
Messi was literally and figuratively irreplaceable for Barcelona, and the player knew that all too well.
By feigning interest in a move to Chelsea, he could get the directors at Barcelona in a panic, which may have pushed them into offering him a more financially lucrative deal to stay longer at the Spanish club.
3. Keeping up with the lives of his friends
A third and final reason for Messi following Chelsea is actually the most likely explanation.
He had friends at the club, and by following their account he could get to keep up with the lives of people who were close to his heart.
This is backed up by the fact that after following the Chelsea Instagram account, Messi also subscribed to the accounts of three Chelsea players:
- Thibaut Courtois;
- Felipe Luis; and
- Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas was his former team mate at Barcelona, and they must have had a very strong friendship especially since they grew up in the Barcelona academy together.
It’s not implausible to think that Messi just wanted to have a way of staying in touch with Fabregas and some of his other friends who played for Chelsea at the time.
Does Messi support Chelsea?
Just because Lionel Messi has followed Chelsea’s official Instagram account doesn’t mean that he supports the team.
In fact, he appears to hold a strong resentment for the club after a controversial UEFA Champions League fixture between his former employers Barcelona and Chelsea damaged relations between the two sides.
Looking back at the Argentinian’s career, you could make a strong case for him supporting Barcelona, as that’s the team where he rose to prominence.
If you’ve heard of the “Ankara Messi” phrase and what it means, then you probably know what I’m talking about.
Beyond Barcelona, Messi would probably also support his boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys, as they’re the ones that gave him his first opportunity to nurture his soccer talent.
What clubs does Messi follow on Instagram?
You already know that Messi follows Chelsea on Instagram, but there are three other teams that the Paris Saint Germain player also subscribes to.
- FC Barcelona;
- Manchester City;
- Newell’s Old Boys
That brings us to the end of this post on why Messi follows Chelsea.
It was supposed to be short and sweet.
Anyway, hopefully you’ll have learnt a lot about the context behind his decision to follow the London club at the time.
For more Messi-related content, check out our posts on: