The GOAT and best to ever do it, Lionel Messi, is leaving FC Barcelona and not on his own accord. Messi’s contract expired on June 30th and he was willing to receive a 50% pay cut in order to stay with the team, but they had other plans and announced they would part ways with Messi over “financial obstacles.”
What does this mean? As reported by ESPN, “Under La Liga rules that were introduced in 2013, there is a floating salary cap for all teams which limits player wages and acquisition costs to 70% of club revenues. In order to meet that requirement after a drastic reduction in revenues due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, FC Barcelona entered this summer offseason needing to shed well over $200 million in salaries just to sign Messi. But the limited transfer activity across Europe meant that the team were nowhere close to that figure, and on Aug. 5, the club and player came to the realization that the signing could not happen under the circumstances.” New management has come in the hopes of fixing Barcelona’s financial situation. Fitch Ratings noted, there’s been “a volatile and unsustainable financial management of the club under the previous management team, including an investigation by Spanish authorities.”
Essentially, Barcelona didn’t budget their player financials accordingly, and are losing Messi due to those incompetencies. If they had just followed La Liga’s regulations and saw the writing on the wall by restructuring their financials, they could’ve kept Messi. Messi’s last contract was signed in 2017 and was the largest contract in sports history worth $670 million, meaning he earned $167.5 million annually. Messi has been with Barcelona for 17 seasons and 10 La Liga titles.
Messi is reportedly devastated at the turn of events and is being hunted by Ligue 1 club, Paris Saint-Germain FC (PSG). PSG has previously signed soccer superstars including, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel De Maria, Thiago Silva, Ronaldhino, etc.
PSG’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino, confirmed the rumblings with the following statement via ESPN, “Of course signing Messi is a possibility…The club is working on it and if there is any information we will communicate it as soon as possible.”
Messi’s heartbreaking Barcelona farewell press conference is due to air Sunday, August 8 at 12PM CT.