Money, Power and regrettable politics led to Lionel Messi's shocking exit from La Liga giants Barcelona - Opinion
|Lionel Messi's days at Barcelona is done, but where did it go wrong for the Catalan club? (Photo credit: @FCBarcelona)|
Certainly, stranger things have happened in the world of football before, Arsene Wenger eventually left Arsenal after 22 years in charge, PSG paid around 220m for Neymar and Greece won the 2004 Euro championships, but Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona albeit unceremoniously will reverberate for a while.
The young innocent looking frail child that was signed by faith and fate, Rexach signed the napkin, as did the agents, Minguella and Gaggioli, as witnesses.
"In Barcelona, on Dec. 14, 2000, in the presence of [Josep Maria] Minguella and Horacio [Gaggioli], Carles Rexach, FC Barcelona's sporting director, hereby agrees, under his responsibility and regardless of any dissenting opinions, to sign the player Lionel Messi provided that we keep to the amounts agreed upon."
🕰 | FACT | Lionel Messi signed his first contract with the Barca on a napkin when he was just 12 years old, now this napkin that was used to hire the player is displayed in the museum of the Catalan club. pic.twitter.com/m91HT4IsQr— MessiTeam (@Lionel10Team) August 5, 2021
The above words, scribbled on a napkin following a game of tennis in Barcelona, have gone down as one of the most iconic deals in football history.
They were hastily written by Rexach, Barca's sporting director at the time, in an attempt to assure Jorge Messi that the Catalan club was committed to signing his son.
Lionel Messi’s father was rightly concerned for the future of his son after seeing how hesitant Barcelona were to take him.
He was only 13 and his looks didn’t help matters, but just after few minutes of watching him on trial, the deal was quickly done, and the rest as we now know it is history.
After seventeen seasons, 778 games, a staggering 683 goals, 226 assists and 35 titles, Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona and the ripple effect has already swung into play as a whooping one million Instagram followers were rumoured to have unfollowed the Barcelona account after the official announcement.
This means a whole lot of Barcelona fans are free agents as we speak pending the time Lionel Messi announces his next destination.
Arguably the most successful single club career ever witnessed has now come to an end and it will have lots of consequences.
The whole football world is shocked, the rivalry between Messi and a certain Cristiano Ronaldo was resurrected within seconds of the news breaking.
Rival fans were happy to troll the Catalan giants, everyone had something to say, either loudly or with a deafening silence.
Where did it go wrong for Barcelona?
Before you wonder where Barcelona missed it, you must get an insight into how the road ended between the most rewarding partnership ever in football history.
Lionel Messi actually agreed to a deal that would see him take a pay cut, but powers above Barcelona ruined the pretty script.
Messi returned to the club with his father to put pens on paper for what would be a five-year deal.
🗣 "Leo wanted to stay at Barcelona, we wanted Leo to stay."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 6, 2021
Barcelona president Joan Laporta says despite both parties agreeing on a new contract, the financial implications would've put the club at risk pic.twitter.com/SaVK8N6Fhd
Barcelona had negotiated to pay him for two years out of the five and he agreed, it was about love and passion for the club, but it wasn’t to be.
While it is sketchy at the moment with everyone having a go at different opinions, what we can lay our thoughts on is the fact that La Liga has introduced a wage cap which means Barcelona will not be able to register some players who earn a certain amount, Messi is in that category.
🗣 "The first agreement was two years to be paid in five years, Leo was in agreement. When we thought that would be allowed in the regulations of FFP, the criteria of cash came into play but it's not allowed here but it is allowed in other countries."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 6, 2021
🇪🇸 Joan Laporta on Messi pic.twitter.com/ckimpMFUte
Even with Messi out of the picture, Barcelona still cannot register Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay; for the former, it’s really a sad situation, he joined Barcelona because he wants to play with Messi, now he cannot at least on club terms.
The club management under Josep Bartomeu was so embarrassing that you can name 20 players at least that were signed without any adequate thinking behind their acquisitions.
Juan Laporta has inherited a whole lot of mess and where does he go from here?
Barcelona fans are blaming Griezmann, Braithwaite and Umititi for refusing a pay cut
The trio of Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and Samuel Umtiti have all refused to accept pay cut and are not looking to leave.
They are all already hearing from fans who are blaming them for their La Pulga’s exit and you can’t blame them (the players) for the kind of contract they got.
Barcelona comfortably gave unnecessary contracts to lots of players and you wonder if there’s more to it, who would have thought that Barcelona will sell Authur for Pjanic?
And for the kind of wages handed to Griezmann and every other player they’re trying to offload, you will be tempted to investigate.
Poor business model
We’ll come back to the table with the angle of the almost defunct European Super League playing a part in La Liga’s decision to block Messi’s registration, but we must look at the business model of the five-time champions league winning club as well.
Barcelona knew the situation with the wage cap heading into the summer, yet they committed so much to Emerson as well as offering big wages to Aguero and Depay, and then there is Eric Garcia from Manchester City, was Messi really their priority?
Words on the street have it again that Messi wasn’t happy with a part of his deal at the last minute which centres around commission, this may have affected the whole situation and as Barcelona couldn’t blame Messi, they opted to heap the blame on La Liga.
The relationship between Barca president Juan Laporta and La Liga president Javier Tebas is tensed, the stories behind the European Super League contributed to that as well and now it will go overboard with finger pointing and accusations.
Since Barcelona and Real Madrid have refused to denounce the European Super League, Tebas is also hell-bent on making life difficult for them, hence the cash injection of $3.2b into La Liga clubs by the CVC as struck by Tebas was not well received by Barca and Real Madrid.
The 10% future proceeds that will go to CVC and an unconfirmed rumour that clubs must sign that they won’t try to break away again before receiving the funds practically handicaps the two giants that still believe in the super league idea.
#Barca doesn't want to sign off on #LaLiga's CVC deal, which would destroy the club's Super League ambitions. LaLiga wants to bury the Super League once and for all and won't register Messi until Barcelona sign off on the deal. That's how the club lost the world's best player.— Manuel Veth (@ManuelVeth) August 5, 2021
Where do all these leave Lionel Messi?
The La Liga is unattractive without Messi, let’s be honest and agree that TV rights will drop, viewership will drop and not many will consider La Liga for adverts from now on.
Barcelona know the implication and they still chose their future over their glittering past with Messi, right decision?
Step forward PSG, they have stalled on the bid for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, they have the big one now and they can make their interest public, it is not impossible considering that reunites Messi with Neymar, his long lost friend.
Paris Saint-Germain are now “progressing” in direct negotiations to sign Leo Messi. Talks ongoing to find the right ‘structure’, PSG are pushing since yesterday and now feeling confident. 🔵🔴🇫🇷 #Messi— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 6, 2021
Manchester City are still quiet. PSG (and Neymar...) working for Messi. #PSG pic.twitter.com/DsdI6knxs7
PSG want the Champions League and they have really done amazing businesses this summer, Gini Wijnaldum on a free from Liverpool, Sergio Ramos on a free from Real Madrid, Gigi Donnarumma on a free from AC Milan and Achraf Hakimi for a sizeable fee from Inter Milan… Messi on a free next?
PSG aren’t the only ones with a chance to sign the shinning star, even at 34, Messi is still a subject of interest to Pep Guardiola.
The fact he just signed Jack Grealish is the only worrying part and he’d wish the Messi news had broken days ago before the mega-deal for the England midfielder.
City can actually make their own luck, sell Bernardo Silva, either of Raheem Sterling and Mahrez and maybe Aymeric Laporte and they will be able to comfortably hand Messi a bumper deal that will mean the rest of the league can start competing for second, oh and that puts an end to the Harry Kane saga.
Manchester United? Well they can as well and sincerely that’s where it stops, Messi is a free agent truly but his diamond isn’t for every jewellery shop.
Maybe it’s time for Messi to end the debate about him only performing magic in one club, he already banished the ghosts of the national team, can he join another club and repeat the madness that made him a six-time Balon D’or winner?
The stories around his Barcelona exit will reverberate for long, arguably the biggest story in sports as we speak, way bigger than the entirety of the Olympics.
And when the transfer window slams shut at the end of August, where will Lionel Messi ply his trade next summer?