Saturday, September 18, 2021

The end of an era: Messi leaves Barcelona

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner made his senior debut at Camp Nou in 2003. Since then, the footballing sensational has played 778 games for the Catalan club, scoring 672 goals. Messi has claimed that he wanted to stay in Barcelona and would have agreed on a 50 percent salary cut to sign a new contract, but under LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP), the signing was impossible.

One of the greatest of all time footballers, Lionel Messi has finally confirmed his exit from Barcelona FC. The club’s inability to sign Messi under the regulations of LaLiga is the main reason behind Messi’s exit. 

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner made his senior debut at Camp Nou in 2003. Since then, the footballing sensational has played 778 games for the Catalan club, scoring 672 goals. Messi has claimed that he wanted to stay in Barcelona and would have agreed on a 50 percent salary cut to sign a new contract, but under LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP), the signing was impossible.

Why can’t Barcelona afford Messi?

Barcelona could not have re-signed Messi even if he had played for free. As Laporta (Barcelona president) explained, “with Messi on board, the club’s wage-to-turnover percentage was 110 percent. And without him, it would have been 95 percent – well above the FFP cut-off mark. As per the latest financial report, the club’s debt exceeded GBP 1 billion, which includes money owed for Philippe Coutinho and Frenkie de Jong. The wage bill for their first-team squad is around GBP 235 million a year.” 

Wages to Revenue Ratio is a useful way for recognizing which clubs are running sustainable businesses and which are running a little too close to capacity.

The general consensus is that a wage-to-revenue ratio of less than 70% is one that can be managed, but anything above that is dangerous and needs to be monitored. Which is in the case of Barcelona they would have a wage-to-turnover percentage of 110% with Messi and 95% if Barcelona is without Messi. And a 110% wage-to-turnover percentage is just not allowed under LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

“Before anything, I want to explain that we have received a terrible inheritance from the previous board, there’s no room to maneuver and the (FFP) rules mark the limit. We had to accept an agreement that mortgaged the Club’s TV rights for half a century and FC Barcelona is above everything else” Laporta said.

Messi wanted to leave last year

Last year, Messi expressed that he wanted to leave the club and wanted to explore other leagues. The Argentian went public about his desire to leave as the club management issues. Messi had a verbal agreement with then-president Josep Bartomeu that he should be released from his contract with the club.

But when it became clear that Bartomeu was not about to let the Barcelona legend walk, Messi refused to take the club to court as a matter of principle and opted to play an extra season against his wishes and decided that he will leave once the contract ends.

Why is Messi’s Barcelona exit is heartbreaking?

Messi is among the most decorated players in Barcelona club history. The little boy who was once refused to play football due to his growth hormone disorder went against all odds to be the most iconic Barcelona player.

Messi has spent over two decades at Barcelona and has achieved every possible feat for the club and for him. Even his children are Argentine-Catalan (Argentine people of Catalan descent). The Argentine has won the treble twice at FC Barcelona.

Lionel Messi’s awards and trophies at Barcelona

Trophies

Trophy No. of titles
La Liga 10
Copa del Rey 7
Spanish Super Cups 8
Champions League 4
European Super Cups 3
Club World Cups 3

Individual awards

Award Years
Golden Ball 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019
UEFA Men’s Player of the Award 2009, 2011, 2015
European Golden Shoe 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019
Pichichi Trophy 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
Champions League top scorer 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019
Best striker in Champions League 2019
La Liga Player of the Year 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
Best Player in Club World Cup 2009, 2011
Club World Cup Golden Boot 2011
FIFA The Best 2019

 

Messi’s next stop? 

Messi has been linked with the Paris Saint-Germain FC. The club competes in Ligue 1, the top division of French football. If the deal comes true, Messi will join the lights of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Sergio Ramos, Ángel Di María, Marco Verratti and Gianluigi Donnarumma.

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