The main news not only of the week, but also of the year – Lionel Messi did not sign a new contract with Barcelona and became a free agent. The club stated that “the agreement could not be concluded due to the financial and structural obstacles spelled out in the regulations of the Spanish league,” but they really tried.
Now the number of clubs that can actually sign Messi is very small – his salary requests are too high, and few people can pull them. Now most of all talk about two options: Manchester City and PSG. Some media outlets also add Inter, Manchester United, MLS clubs to the list and do not even rule out that this whole story with a loud farewell is nothing more than a bluff and a way of putting pressure on the head of La Liga.
One thing is clear for sure – there will be plenty to choose from Messi.
Messi has officially left Barcelona. How did it happen?
A year ago, when the first talk about the possible departure of Messi from Barcelona, the most likely was the transfer of the Argentinean to Manchester City. Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar wrote that Leo personally called Pep Guardiola to see if it was possible to arrange his transfer.
Then the media reported different, sometimes conflicting information:
– ESPN reported that the club wants to offer Messi a three-year contract, at the end of which the Argentine will move to New York City, part of the City Football Group holding and playing in the MLS;
– according to The Telegraph, for such a transfer, Manchester City would have to spend about £ 500 million, of which £ 300 million would go only to the player’s salary, and £ 200 million would have to be paid to Barcelona;
– The Guardian claimed that the City sheikhs really wanted to see Messi at the club, but ideally planned to get him for free, as a free agent.
In the end, Barcelona persuaded Messi to stay for another season. This year, when his contract ended, there were rumors about City again, and then the head of La Liga Javier Tebas got in, who clearly cannot stand the English club: “He will not be able to sign a contract with them on the terms that he had in“ Barcelona “. This is absolutely impossible. I don’t think any European club will be able to pay that amount – not only Barcelona. City cannot afford Messi without financial doping. ”
Nevertheless, the Spanish media call the MC option one of the most obvious right now, despite the fact that the club yesterday announced the transfer of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for € 118 million and is going to acquire Harry Kane for an astronomical amount of € 180 mln.
“Messi will see this move as a potentially interesting way to end his career in Europe, rebuild with Pep Guardiola and have another chance to win the Champions League,” writes Marca. – He will also be guaranteed the title as Manchester City are undoubtedly the best squad in England at the moment. Guardiola has never won the Champions League without Messi and may want to take the title back with his star pupil. ”
Mundo Deportivo disagrees with his colleagues: “While financial fair play is always a joke in the case of City, it’s hard to believe they’ll have the money on Messi.”
The highlights of Messi’s career at Barcelona. How Leo has changed from year to year
The Athletic writes that Messi has already contacted Mauricio Pochettino about moving to Paris. “Equally on Thursday evening, sources close to the club insisted that Messi was considered too expensive in France. They have already invested a significant chunk of their money in the payroll this summer and have tried to sign Paul Pogba of Manchester United. However, between 10 p.m. and midnight French time, Messi personally contacted Mauricio Pochettino, which led to discussions. PSG President Nasser Al-Helaifi is in talks, and the club’s finance team has already discussed how to maximize business opportunities using the name Messi. There is an expectation that the Argentine will bring the club more than it will cost. ”
Marca also argues that the option with PSG is now the most likely: “The Parisian club is desperate to win the Champions League. For the player himself, this is the ideal scenario: the team is assembled under the titles, he will receive the highest salary and will be able to play again with Neymar, one of his closest friends. ”
Mundo Deportivo, among other things, does not exclude such an outcome: “If Nasser Al-Khelaifi wants it, it will be done. Point. An attack with Messi, Neymar and Mbappe is his dream. Another thing is that for the sake of Leo’s transition from an economic point of view, he can send Mbappe to Real Madrid on good terms for both clubs. “
Other, less realistic options
Inter: the Milan club last year was also among those who joined the fight for the Argentine. And if then they could afford it, then this year the chances are about zero – there are problems with money at Inter, and they will definitely not be able to handle Messi’s requests.
MLS: the move to the USA is also on the news, and David Beckham’s team is named among the many clubs. But with a greater degree of probability, he will play in Europe for another two or three years, and only then will he leave on the other side of the Atlantic to finish his career.
Heroes Euro and Messi – without a club. Where will top free agents continue their careers?
And this whole story could be a clever bluff from Barça.
Conspiracy theories are already rife with fans and journalists. At the heart of each is political pressure on Tebas to get the League to soften the tough demands that made it impossible to conclude a new contract with Messi.
– Since 2013, La Liga has a cost ceiling per team, which is determined in accordance with the club’s financial statements. The ceiling, of course, depends on income and expenses, so last season, when football was hit hard by the coronavirus, Barcelona’s bar fell by half to € 347 million, and this season, according to Spanish media reports, collapsed by about € 200 million;
– this rule forced the club to seriously reduce the costs of the team, and the salary budget was first of all affected;
– Barça tried to find funds, to come to an agreement with the League in order to keep the leaders and Messi, but nothing happened.
We decided to go the other way – but it’s hard to say if Tebas will break now. He probably understood that Messi would leave when he did not go to meet Barcelona.
So it seems better to accept now that Leo will be wearing other colors very soon than to continue to believe in dubious theories.