After 21 years, Lionel Messi will depart FC Barcelona. For fans, the news was devastating. It seems unfathomable to imagine Messi in any other kit than that of the club he’s been such a loyal teammate and ardent supporter of. But after Barcelona president Joan Laporta admitted that the club’s finances were in a state of distress, with players like Messi facing significant wage cuts, the Argentine superstar announced his departure.
Given his star status and exorbitant asking price, Messi’s options were limited to club’s willing to foot the bill of a global icon. It’s been reported that Messi called PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino, according to the Associated Press. French newspaper L’Equipe has also reported that Messi would travel to Paris on Sunday or Monday to undertake a medical and finalise his deal with the Qatar Sports Investment-owned club. While Messi himself has yet to confirm a deal between himself and the Parisians, he has told the press that his goal is to carry on playing for as long as possible, with ambitions to win another Champions League trophy.
PSG have reportedly offered Messi a salary worth around $AUD50.47 million a season, or $40 million per season after tax. The deal is for two years, with the option of a third year. So, how much does that mean Messi will be earning? To put things into perspective, a $40 million take home salary equates to around $770,679 per week or $110,018 a day. That means Messi will be banking $4,584 per hour, or $76.41 per minute, or $1.28 per second.
As for Barcelona, the club’s debts exceed $1.2 billion euros, an issue that’s only been compounded by lack of revenue from empty stadiums during the pandemic along with years of financial problems. In a news conference, Laporta said: “The club is above everything – even above the best player in the world.” He added, “I said we’d do everything possible to keep Messi at Barca within the economic situation of the club.”
Laporta continued: “We reached agreement but couldn’t formalise it, because of the club’s economic situation, which means we can’t register the play due to salary limits. I don’t want to go on and on about the situation we inherited, and the awful decisions that were made in the past. We have gone from bad to worse.”
While we wait for Messi’s confirmation of a deal, fans of the sporting star will continue to process the news, coming to grips with the end of an era. Alongside rival Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi is just the second football player in the world to have earned more than $1 billion USD, and has long been considered one of the greatest players. What becomes of his future remains to be seen, but it seems certain that it will be some time before we get used to seeing the star in a new professional kit.