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Far-Fetched Friday: Messi Tricked You All and Will Stay
By: Jake Lofgren
How's the saying go? Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, we look at the Lionel Messi saga.
Now, this is definitely a hot take considering Barcelona came out with an official statement saying that Lionel Messi will not return. In fact, the club keeps tweeting different things thanking Lionel Messi, like tribute videos and other nostalgic pieces. But let's remember this has all happened before. Last summer, reportedly Messi wanted to leave, and in the next 24 hours, the football world was in shambles. Give it some time; this saga is far from done. This news is all very sad for Barcelona, but I think there are a lot of details in this news that people don't know about.
The official statement tweeted by FC Barcelona leads to an article on their website that is three whole paragraphs long.
The first paragraph states that, "Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of Spanish La Liga regulations on player registration."
I think that a lot of people around the sporting world do not wholly understand that this is not Barcelona's fault. Barcelona can afford and even agreed on personal terms with Messi. Not like this stuff is all even really news anyway. Messi has not been a Barcelona player for a while now after his contract already expired. He has been free to talk to other clubs; he just hasn't because clearly, his preferred option is staying.
The reason this deal is not going through is entirely on LaLiga. The league is doing its best to incorporate new financial fair play rules for all teams. This means teams are required to stick to a spending limit on things like transfers and salaries. This makes it difficult for Barcelona to replicate a contract as massive as the last one Messi was on. You know the one that got leaked to the public not long ago, revealing Messi is far and away the best-paid athlete of all time.
So, could LaLiga look at this situation and fix it to keep their most influential and marketable player? Well yeah, of course they can. The league understands how much they need Messi in it.
Even after losing Ronaldo a few years ago, what used to be one of the most prestigious matches in the football world, El Clasico, lost a lot of its significance. If LaLiga loses Messi now, is Joao Felix (no disrespect) the new face of your league? The situation is so dire that a rumor came out that all LaLiga clubs were interested in chipping in on Messi's contract because they understand the amount of revenue Messi brings to the league and all clubs. Losing Messi will mean losing a ton of extra eyeballs not just for Barcelona but every individual club in Spain.
If Messi really is this expensive, who can even afford him? Manchester City felt like the only realistic option last summer, and they just splashed 100 million on Jack Grealish, who even took the number 10 shirt. They announced this signing on the same exact day that Messi is leaving, so they clearly were not in the loop. The only financially possible team seems to be PSG, who are beefing themselves up this summer. Messi was recently seen on vacation with PSG stars: Neymar, Marco Verratti, Leandro Paredes, and Angel Di Maria. Although, it seems as though these two parties have only begun discussing personal terms.
Things can change quickly in the football world. Everyone remember the European Super League? Yeah, that did not last long. Messi staying still looks unlikely, but this saga is not over until Messi officially signs the dotted line at a new club.
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