After ending the months of suspense over his future course of action, Argentine football legend Lionel Messi has officially inked a two-year deal with French League club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). In fact, his new alliance had become somewhat apparent on August 10 when he flew to Paris to conclude his transfer. The new development came after copious tears were shed over the termination of the much-envied association between Messi and Barca. On August 5, millions of Barcelona FC supporters were in for a major heartbreak following the news of Messi’s exit from the club as a result of La Liga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. More on the rules later, first let’s understand clearly the pangs of the parting.
Messi was crying profusely in his last presser as a Barcelona player. This is very much understandable as he made his senior debut at Camp Nou in 2003 and featured in 778 games for the Catalan club, netting 672 goals. He said that he wished to remain with the FC especially after the exit of Josep Bartomeu, the club president, with whom Messi did not share a good relationship. The talismanic player also agreed to a 50 percent salary deduction to sign a fresh contract with Barca. However, as per the FFP rules, even a dirt-cheap Messi was beyond the reach of Barcelona.
“We had everything agreed, but at the last minute, it couldn’t happen. This year I wanted to stay and I couldn’t. Last year I didn’t want to stay, and I said it,” Messi said regarding his unfortunate departure from a club where he graduated from an extremely talented to a GOAT player.
The Thorn In The Flesh
So, the obvious question is, why did Barcelona let go of Messi? The Catalan club would not have been able to sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner again had he made himself available for free. As Joan Laporta, the new club president, clarified, with Messi, the club’s wage-to-turnover percentage was 110 percent. And in his absence, it would be 95 percent, very much in line with the FFP regulations. Hence, the Spanish league’s financial norms did the unthinkable: severing the almost inseparable bond.
Now moving to Messi’s new club, PSG paid 222 million euros (then $261 million) to get Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, but transfer fee is not involved in the case of Messi. The financial deal between Messi and PSG is still in the realm of speculation but as per a New York Times report, Messi is poised to get $41 million per year. One can only hope that this piece of information turns out to be indeed true.
“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain. Everything about the club matches my football ambitions. I am determined to help build something special for the club and the fans, and I am looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch at the Parc des Princes,” Messi said after joining the PSG.
Will There Be Another Formidable Trio?
At the PSG, Messi will be reuniting with his ex-Barcelona mate Neymar with whom he had scripted several awe-inspiring moments to shape the future of the Catalan club. But, there is a question mark over the continuance of another superstar, Kylian Mbappe at the French club once Messi comes into the picture. The FFP rules will not allow the club to include three international superstars in the playing squad. However, the PSG had made it quite clear that the economic hardships brought in by the Covid-19 will convince UEFA to be more accommodative on this issue. Also, the club has the backing of the French government on this issue because of the latter’s realization that it will benefit French football immensely during these testing times. Hence, it looks like the dawn of a new era, Messi, Neymar Mbappe (MNM), in the PSG.