Sports

Lionel Messi Switches Teams

By: Matteo Herrera

End of the road, Messi will no longer play for F.C. Barcelona, after 17 seasons of playing for them and joining them at 13 years old. However, he will now be playing for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). 

PSG was able to sign Messi on a two-year contract to play in Ligue 1 with PSG with the option for a third season. They could also get him for free; Messi’s contract with Barca ended this summer, making him a free agent. As a result, teams worldwide were contacting Messi’s representatives for a chance to have him on their team. 

Yet, PSG was one of the only realistic teams that could pay Messi’s contract. On the other side, Barcelona is now stuck in a financial ditch with their president, Joan Laporta, saying they have a $1.6 billion debt, and he will be known as the one who let Messi leave. 

F.C. Barcelona claims they did everything in their power to keep Messi, even putting part of the blame on the board of La Liga. 

There was an agreement between Messi and Barcelona, which would have Messi’s salary cut by 50% so he could stay with them.

Representatives of La Liga said, “Despite F.C. Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles.” 

In La Liga, there is a salary cap on each club, and the league was solemn in not giving anyone exceptions. The 2020-21 season limit was 382.7 million euros, where Barcelona’s wage bill was set at 671 million euros, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

They planned to move some of their players away from their club but could not due to their high wages. Every team worldwide is hurting due to the losses the pandemic handed them. 

On top of that, Barcelona was trying to boost Messi’s morale by adding his Argentine friend, Sergio Aguero, and star player Memphis Depay on free transfers. 

“I think it’s so sad how he was forced to leave Barca even after he said he would take a 50% pay cut,” said Bryce Benson, University of Tampa student and PSG fan. “As for soccer itself, it shows that no matter how good the player is, if the organization is in financial trouble, that can have a major effect on their club. As for PSG, I love how he’s playing with Neymar again, and if everyone can stay healthy, PSG will dominate. PSG is the new Lakers or Nets.” 

Benson’s point on comparing it to basketball teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers & the Brooklyn Nets is because of how many superstars these teams have all together. This means that parity is a loser in this blockbuster of a movie. Why is there a sport if there isn’t any competition? The main factor driving this is money; the bridge between the sports rich and poor grows every year. 

Yet, here we are now, footage of Messi training with his PSG teammates Neymar and Mbappe has been released. Don’t forget he will now be teammates with longtime Real Madrid rival Sergio Ramos. There is much talent on the roster, as Paris is desperate to lift the Champions League trophy after spending millions on players for years; this is possibly their best chance of achieving it.

This move caused many people to buy a Messi shirt from PSG, which gave Michael Jordan a net of $7 million just off jersey sales. The Jordan Brand has a sponsorship deal with PSG, which proved profitable. PSG reported a total of $140 million in sales of Messi’s number 30 jersey, with the Jordan Brand taking a 5% cut from that. This upcoming season will have the Jordan logo on their home kits. 

The tissue paper Messi used during his final press conference with Barcelona is allegedly being auctioned for $1 million. That is how much of an impact he left on the world by just leaving his boyhood club.

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