Six-time Ballon d’Or award-winner Lionel Messi has departed Barcelona for Paris St. Germain despite both parties having reached an agreement over a new contract.
In fact, Messi is already getting to work and training with his new teammates.
Barcelona’s economic difficulties played an enormous role in the renewal of Messi’s contract.
With him he takes his iconic star power and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that is sure to shift the balance of power and popularity.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 11, 2021
Lionel Andres Messi, who joined Barcelona’s youth academy at age 13 – is the club’s all-time top scorer with 672 goals in 778 games in all competitions.
This summer, the Argentine forward was free to negotiate a transfer with any club after his deal ran out at the end of June, but Barcelona had relayed to all that he wanted to stay with the club.
Messi was expected to sign a new five-year deal with Barcelona, which would have included a salary reduction of 50%. Otherwise known as the infamous “hometown discount.”
However, to re-sign Messi this summer, it was imperative that Barcelona needed to sell some other high-priced veteran players off — but no teams showed any real interest in buying players past their prime with extremely high salaries.
Those issues ultimately did not reduce their wage bill to stay within La Liga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. Each professional club’s salary cap is based on their revenue income, current player wages, and debt. In Barcelona’s case, their debt bill got the best of them.
La Liga chief Javier Tebas stated last month that Barcelona has a total debt of more than $1.18 billion.
In addition – The news of Messi’s exit was announced one day after La Liga agreed in principle to sell 10% of a newly formed company housing most of its business to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners for $3.2 billion.
Of course, Covid-19 played a part in Barcelona financial woes.
The club’s lingering debt combined with an empty Camp Nou (stadium) throughout the 2020-2021 season did not help the situation.
Many other big clubs throughout Europe had their fair share of financial hardships and attempted, along with Barcelona – to create a closed European Super League consisting of only the “big clubs in European football”.
The league proposal received serious backlash and collapsed under the pressure of fan disapproval.
Messi spoke on Sunday from the Camp Nou, with his family and now former teammates in the audience.
“This year I was convinced, my family and I, that we were going to continue here, that we were going to stay at home, which was what we desired the most,” he said, “I did my best to stay, and it wasn’t possible.”
🎥 Leo #Messi's FULL Farewell Press Conference
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 9, 2021
Lionel Messi is a unique player – one of the greatest talents the sport has ever seen. What he has accomplished at the Cap Nou in Barcelona is remarkable.
The brilliance of his play — the vision, touch, faints, and all the intangible ways in which he affects games, making the players around him better.
Then, of course – there are the trailer load of goals, assists and trophies, including four Champions Leagues titles.
Also, this summer – Messi led Argentina to their fourth Copa America final, winning his first major trophy with the national team.
🇦🇷 Besos al alma: Lionel Messi le dedicó la Copa América a Diego Maradona y agradeció a Dios "por haberme hecho argentino" 🏆
— Selección Argentina 🇦🇷 (@Argentina) July 12, 2021
So, he’s still got major game.
Messi’s talent is generational and transcends cultures or rivalries. When Messi takes the field in Paris, millions of fans will watch. Hundreds of millions of dollars will follow closely behind, as well.