Written by Lwando Mhobo
In a transfer that has reverberated a frenzy & shock throughout the football fraternity – Lionel Messi has finally left his boyhood club of Barcelona for Paris Saint German (PSG).
Although Lionel Messi’s move away from Barcelona was the subject of intense transfer speculation over the last year,most Barcelona fans had been of the opinion that their star man was likely to sign a contract renewal with Barcelona after he became a free agent as of July 1st 2021
In addition,their new club President,Joan Laporta, was confident of a deal that would see the Argentinian take a significant 50% pay cut to ease Barcelona’s financial strain and see out the rest of his career in Catalunya.
This is the fairytale ending that most football purists believed would ensue,Lionel too,but alas.
To everyone’s surprise,on the 5th of August Barcelona announced that they would not be renewing Lionel Messi’s contract even though both parties had initially agreed contractual terms in principle.
In a press conference conducted by the club’s president ,Joan Laporta,announcing Lionel Messi’s departure from the club the president cited La Liga’s rules as a stumbling block. “To comply with the league’s fair play regulations we had to accept an agreement that mortgaged the Club’s TV right for half a century and FC Barcelona is above everything else” explained Laporta.
In addition,Laporta went on a stinging rant and took a dig at the previous board for Messi’s exit by saying “the club’s expected debt is now much higher as we had some sports contracts that meant we had no margin on salary”
News of Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona sent the footballing world into delirium with fans,journalists as well as media outlets taking to social media to speculate on which club would land Lionel Messi’s coveted signature.
Realistically,only a handful of elite clubs were in the race and could afford La Pulga’s wages as well as provide a solid sporting project – Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain were the immediate bookmakers favourites as both could offer the aforementioned.
However the timing was awful for the Eastlands club as they had just spent £100 million triggering Jack Grealish’s release clause on the day Barcelona announced Lionel Messi’s departure,meaning a deal for the now ex-Barcelona player would prove difficult. This meant a free-pass for the Les Parisiens.
The opportunity to sign one of the greatest footballers in the world was one that Paris Saint Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi would not pass up particularly because of the financial benefits and what Lionel Messi’s signing would do for the proliferating Paris Saint Germain brand.
On the 10th of August amid huge fanfare in the capital of France,Lionel Messi put pen to paper on a two-year deal with an option for an extra year. The six-time Ballon’D’Or winner will don the number 30 shirt,a number he previously wore at the beginning of his career for the Blaugrana.
Lionel Messi seems to have chosen the best sporting project for his latter years allowing him to link up with his national teammates,who he won the Copa America with in the summer,in Angel Di Maria,Leandro Paredes as well as his good friend Neymar who he enjoyed a fruitful time with at Barcelona.
The road to getting that elusive Champions League trophy for Paris Saint Germain and company starts now. With a star-studded sided comprising of serial winners such as Keylor Navas,Sergio Ramos as well as Neymar and Georginio Wijnaldum,Paris Saint Germain will have little to no excuses if they do not win Europe’s greatest club competition.
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