Football: Lionel Messi, are we doing too much?

Lionel Messi madness, everywhere. At the Parc des Princes in Paris for the presentation, on August 11, of the new PSG recruit to the supporters of the club in the capital. In Reims, a few days later, for his entry into play – only about twenty minutes – in Ligue 1. In Bruges, on September 15, for his first tenure with his teammates just as stars – Neymar and Kylian Mbappé – in the Ligue des champions. And each time, numb football fans, rave reviews, “Messi (on all tones) thank you “

For PSG, the blow seems to be perfect, the result of a combination of exceptional circumstances, including an incredible break in the links between the Argentinean and his club at heart, FC Barcelona. Recruiting Messi without transfer fees, even if his salary exceeds 40 million euros annually, was an unthinkable windfall a few months earlier.

→ ANALYSIS. Lionel Messi, a star at all costs for Paris

And it didn’t take long for PSG to start seeing the benefits. The player’s number 30 flocked jerseys are selling like hot cakes, at least three times more than Neymar’s when the Brazilian arrived in 2017. PSG is banking on an increase in sales of 30 to 40% this year. On social networks, the number of “followers” of the club jumped 25 million in one month (it exceeds 140 million now). The PSG brand has become the most followed in the world, even more than the big French luxury brands. In future negotiations, all club partnerships will be revised upwards.

A “tremendous success” for Qatar

“For Qatar, his arrival is also a tremendous success a year and a half before the World Cup organized by the emirate: it is one more jewel in the crown, at the end of an impressive transfer window with others arrivals which ultimately make up undoubtedly the best team in history, and complete the country’s sports diplomacy ”, underlines Jean-Baptiste Guégan, teacher and specialist in the geopolitics of sport.

The problem of the murderous sites of the World Cup, with appalling working conditions for immigrant labor? The very choice of Qatar to organize this World Cup, forcing an upheaval in the calendar in order to postpone the matches in winter (from November 21 to December 18, 2022)? “With Messi, the international image of Qatar is for a time restored and it is an important success for a State which wants to weigh in the Middle East, in particular compared to the United Arab Emirates or to Saudi Arabia which also practice a soft power athletic “, continues Jean-Baptiste Guégan.

Let’s talk about football rather than angry subjects, then. With Messi as the perfect ambassador or at the head of the ideal gondola. Messi the savior, in a way, it is also true for the championship of France. Ligue 1 was sorry after the crisis in television rights and the sad Mediapro episode, crying over its fate of competition at a discount. Messi arrives and “It is extremely positive for all of French football, as well as for its promotion”, enthuses in The Parisian Michel Denisot, former president of PSG from 1991 to 1998. With a wave of the magic wand, there is no question of reviewing the organization of French football a few weeks earlier on the verge of bankruptcy. And too bad if PSG is the tree that hides the rather deforested forest of Ligue 1.

Should we play the killjoy?

Too bad also if the “All Stars” team of PSG is the symbol of ultra-elitist football, where a few big clubs are increasingly widening the gap that separates them from the others. The global trend annoys supporters, who very often grumble against the extremely wealthy teams that distort the popular football of yesteryear. But all applaud Messi in Paris.

“The supporters are often a bit contradictory, recognizes Hervé Mougin, chief supporter of the Blues within the association of the French Irresistibles. They know on the one hand that the perpetual rise in the wage bill in the clubs is a race for the shallot, and that the excessive financialization of football is driving sport into the wall. But how can you not be excited to see the best players evolve together? “

→ READ. The supporters find the stands and impose themselves as guardians of the temple

Indeed. Should we play the killjoy? Perhaps by wondering about such a concentration of talent, which could well end up wringing definitively the neck of the “glorious uncertainty of sport”. PSG, already, prances at the top of Ligue 1. And the bookmakers do not give much of their opponents in the Champions League. That Messi and his “dream team” confirm by reigning over Europe and it will be said that it was written. The very denial of the interest of sport?



Football: Lionel Messi arrived in Paris

The only footballer to be awarded six times the Golden Ball and the European Golden Shoe, Lionel Messi marked the legend of football, but also that of his club, FC Barcelona, ​​in which he played for almost twenty-one year.

The superstar landed Tuesday, August 10 afternoon, around 3:30 p.m., at Le Bourget airport, where the Argentinian, dressed in a t-shirt “Here is Paris”, greeted the hundreds of supporters who cheered him on.

→ ANALYSIS. Lionel Messi, a star at all costs for Paris

Paris Saint-Germain celebrated his arrival with a 13-second video full of references to the striker’s career, such as his six Ballons d’Or and the Argentinian flag, placed between the shirts of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.

→ READ. Football: superstar Lionel Messi leaves Barca

In statements to several local media outlets at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, his father and advisor, Jorge Messi, responded with a ” Yes “ laconic to a journalist who asked him if his son was going to engage with PSG.

Highly anticipated

At the Parc des Princes, employees cleaned and set up the red carpet for the stadium’s VIP entrance.

The players in Ligue 1, too, shared their enthusiasm during the weekend as to the probable arrival of the six-fold Golden Ball.

Since the brutal announcement, Thursday, August 5, of the departure of Messi from his club, Barça, PSG appears to be the most likely destination for the Argentine. ” It’s a possibility “, had confirmed Sunday, August 8, the striker, when bidding farewell to the Blaugrana club. “Honestly, I got a lot of calls from a lot of clubs when the release (of his departure) appeared. At this moment, there is nothing done ”, he continued. This Tuesday, football fans now know that the transfer is indeed official.

The French press mentions PSG’s proposal for a contract of at least two years, with a net annual salary of around 40 million euros. Figures that would place Messi at the level of Neymar (36 million euros), the highest paid footballer in France.



Lionel Messi, a star at all costs for Paris

Frantically awaited by Parisian supporters, Lionel Messi has agreed to tie his fate to Paris Saint-Germain. The two parties found common ground on Tuesday August 10 around a dizzying two-year contract (plus an optional third year), estimated at 40 million euros per year, with a signing bonus. ‘at least 30 million euros. Stratospheric figures, “Equivalent to the median annual budget of Ligue 1 clubs”, compares the economist Luc Arrondel, researcher at the CNRS.

→ EXPLANATION. Football, the battle for release clauses

The arrival of the six-fold Golden Ball in Paris, however, comes in a context of recession for world football, forcing almost all clubs to reduce their lifestyle and to absorb the debts accumulated because of the Covid epidemic. . At the wrong time, PSG offered themselves a lavish recruitment campaign this summer, welcoming in turn the Spanish defender Sergio Ramos (ex-Real Madrid), the Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma (ex-AC Milan), the Moroccan Achraf Hakimi ( ex-Inter Milan) (1) and Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum (ex-Liverpool), which increased the payroll of the Ile-de-France club.

Insatiable, Leonardo, the sporting director, does not intend to stop there. Once the recruitment of Messi is acquired, he will put all his strength to renew the contract of Kylian Mbappé, courted by Real Madrid, and welcome by the end of August the very young international Eduardo Camavinga (18 years old, Rennes).

The club is betting on organic growth in turnover

The question of financing these operations inevitably arises. But for the wealthy Qatari owner – Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) -, who paid off the losses linked to the Covid-19 pandemic – 125 million euros for the 2019-20 season alone – the arrival of Lionel Messi was a bargain not to be missed. Especially since, unlike Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, bought for more than 400 million euros in 2017, PSG will not pay any transfer compensation this time, which has, according to Luc Arrondel, “Greatly facilitated this recruitment”.

Paris Saint-Germain took advantage of the temporary relaxation of financial fair play rules established by UEFA, which prohibits European clubs from spending more than they earn, to afford the king of the planet football , without having to get rid of his best players. With Neymar, Angel Di Maria, and Kylian Mbappé, he will compose a fire attack, a magic square unique in the world. “This is the main interest, continues the economist. BecauseParis Saint-Germain are looking at all costs to win the Champions League, which has eluded them since the acquisition of the club by QSI ”.

Beyond the obvious sporting added value of the top scorer in Barça history (672 goals in all competitions), marketing issues counted. By getting their hands on Messi, a global brand followed by 245 million fans on Instagram, PSG is taking care of its imageand is still getting closer to the most influential clubs such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Manchester City.

Economically, leaders also expect short-term payoffs. ” If we compare this arrival to Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus in 2018, we can indeed think so, Luc Arrondel advances. The 117 million euros invested in the Portuguese striker were quickly amortized: on the stock market, the action had then jumped by 40%, the sponsorship contracts with Jeep and Adidas had been renegotiated upwards, the supporters of the club had surged on social networks, ticket sales had increased. And Juve entered the top 5 clubs that sell the most shirts in the world. “

Unexpected added value for Ligue 1

The arrival of the superstar promises to be just as profitable for Ligue 1, put to the test, between the downward renegotiation of TV rights after the disengagement of the audiovisual group Mediapro and the absence of the public in the stadiums, leading to a unprecedented drop in professional club revenues.

→ ANALYSIS. Break between Mediapro and the League, French football forced to reinvent itself

With Messi at the head of the gondola, the National Football League has a golden opportunity to open up to new markets and to reassess its broadcasting rights abroad, which to date earn it 80 million euros per year. . ” Compared to its neighbors, such as England which generates more than 1 billion euros internationally, France is a little behind. This arrival can be interesting for the whole economy of French football ”, concludes Luc Arrondel.


In Europe, a slow-moving transfer market

The Covid-19 has forced European football on a dry run. In the big five leagues, the obligation to sell players before strengthening has been imposed on most clubs. In Ligue 1, except Nice, Monaco, Marseille or Paris, all the teams have reduced the sails.

The financial situation of strongholds of French football such as Saint-Étienne, Lille, Nantes or Bordeaux – which has just been saved by the sulphurous buyer Gérard Lopez – remains worrying. It is only in England, where the market seems to have woken up in recent days, with the arrival of Jack Grealish in Manchester City for 117 million euros – a record across the Channel – and the return to Chelsea of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.



Football: superstar Lionel Messi leaves Barca

After more than 20 years of life together, the divorce is resounding: Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona ended their love affair on Thursday August 5 by formalizing the departure of the six-fold Ballon d’Or, now free at 34 years of age to find another club.

Coup de theater, clap of thunder, blow of sledgehammer… The information shook the specialized press which thought the extension on the right track: the Argentinian star will leave the club which he had joined in 2000 and which he led to firmament of European football, winning 35 trophies, including four Champions Leagues, and embodying the beautiful Barcelona game.

But it will now be necessary to get used to seeing the twirling little n ° 10 evolving in colors other than the Blaugrana jersey, perhaps at Manchester City where his former mentor, the Catalan coach Pep Guardiola, awaits him, or at the Paris Saint Germain, who has never hidden that he dreamed of welcoming the superstar.

Salary cap

“Although an agreement has been found between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi (…) it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (the regulations of the Spanish Liga)”Barca said in a statement, pointing to La Liga salary cap rules that prevent him from signing the Argentine’s contract.

“Faced with this situation, Lionel Messi will not remain linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the club cannot come true ”, continued the club, thanking Messi ” With all my heart “.

→ ARCHIVES. FC Barcelona, ​​more than a football club

In Catalonia, where the news constitutes an earthquake, Barcelona President Joan Laporta is due to give a press conference at 11 a.m. on Friday to explain himself to the “Socios” (supporters-shareholders of the club).

Disruption of the transfer market

This shattering rebound concerning one of the greatest players in history risks upsetting a hitherto little lively transfer market, against the backdrop of financial difficulties linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the end of the contract since last June, Messi finds himself free to sign where he wants, an unthinkable turnaround even as the Spanish press expected the imminent conclusion of his contract extension. It must be said that the Argentinian had expressed in the summer of 2020 his desires elsewhere.

Long soap opera

The decision formalized Thursday seals the end of a long soap opera initiated at the end of August 2020, when the Argentine star had signified its desire to leave Catalonia by sending the club a “Burofax”, letter remained famous which had led to the resignation of President Josep Maria Bartomeu, in October 2020. His successor Laporta then struggled for many months to find the financial package that would allow Barca, heavily in debt, to keep his star.

→ IN 2020. Football, the battle for release clauses

However, his serious financial difficulties seem to have got the better of the operation, despite the announcement on Wednesday of an injection of new money into Spanish clubs by the CVC investment fund. And despite the financial effort of the small Argentine striker, ready to divide his salary by two and extend for five seasons, according to the Spanish press.

Which destination ?

The six Ballons d’Or striker, just winner of the Copa America with Argentina, nevertheless nurtured an intimate and special relationship with Barcelona, ​​where he has lived since his adolescence and where his three sons were born. Top scorer in club history, he had recently become Barca’s player with the most appearances, ahead of legend Xavi’s 767 appearances.

Perhaps the image of a declining Barca, having lost a foothold on the European scene since his last Champions League coronation in 2015, has definitely convinced Messi to change tune to conquer a fifth C1 and equal his rival forever, Cristiano Ronaldo.

It remains to know its destination. And the clubs that can accommodate him, and his staggering salary of several tens of millions of euros per year, are not legion. Manchester City and its wealthy Emirati owners, or PSG owned by Qatari fund QSI, are among them.