Ten days after Lionel Messi's astonishing request to leave Barcelona on a free transfer, and we're back to where we started: Messi is still a Barcelona player.

But it wouldn't be a debacle without wounding egos and damaging reputations, or smirks and winks being exchanged between those on the periphery of the clash in Catalonia.

Here, theScore assesses the main winners and losers from the rift between Messi and Barcelona:

Loser - Lionel Messi

Messi didn't hide the fact that he wanted to leave Barcelona - he would've already terminated his contract due to the club's lack of ambition. He said striking a gentlemen's agreement with president Josep Maria Bartomeu gave him, in his mind, the freedom to leave if and when he felt the time was right.

In the end, Barcelona won the tug of war based on a superior legal footing. Messi's contract had a €700-million release clause, and the club enforced it. He didn't attempt to take the case to court - he didn't want to depart Barcelona as the bad guy.

But, if he was so intent on leaving, having told Bartomeu all year that he wanted out, why wait so long to sever ties? A little punctuality could've prevented all of this.

Now, he's facing another season at Barcelona, and not just a regular season - this year is more about transitioning than winning. The club promised a "wider restructuring" with Quique Setien's dismissal, bringing in Ronald Koeman to clean house. Luis Suarez, Messi's best friend, is reportedly leaving, and Barca - who are already in a financial bind - can't splash the cash to make significant improvements.

The squad can possibly win back Messi's loyalty with a regime change. Bartomeu is stepping down following March 2021's presidential elections, and Victor Font - the favorite to succeed Bartomeu - might sell a new vision enticing both Messi to stay long-term and club legend Xavi to return as manager. But that's still a pipe dream.

Winner - La Liga