By Pete Jenson for MailOnline
Published: 19:20 BST, 3 September 2020 | Updated: 19:20 BST, 3 September 2020
As Lionel Messi decides between staying for one more year at Barcelona, or staying on strike and stepping into a legal battle that could wreck his season, he knows there is no easy way out of this situation.
He can take to Instagram and tell supporters that he wanted to bring to a dignified end his 20 years at the club but it has not been possible so he will now stay until June 2021.
But it will still leave him with the onerous task of going back into the club's Joan Gamper training ground, taking the PCR coronavirus test, training in isolation while results are confirmed, and then finally becoming one of Ronald Koeman's players just two weeks after telling him he didn't want to play for him.
Lionel Messi is set to decide on staying one more year at Barcelona or continuing his strike
Messi has told the club he wants out but Barcelona are standing firm and plan to keep him
There would be an awkward reunion with team-mates who have remained almost unanimously silent since he sent his burofax to the club telling them he now considered himself a free agent.
The captain question will have to be answered. It will be one thing to pull the jersey on again, but the armband?
Ronald Koeman was already thinking about who might be his new fourth skipper.
Barcelona have four captains and Marc-Andre ter Stegen was the favourite to join Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto. Will Messi want to step back into the group of leaders?
Will he want to wear the armband and address his team-mates having made it clear in the last two weeks that he no longer wants to be at the club?
If Messi does return, he has serious questions to face over whether he should remain captain
Ronald Koeman's side have been training without Messi, who is boycotting the sessions