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Why Lionel Messi Left FC Barcelona

09 November 2021

A brief history of football’s MVP & news on his recent move

Luis Lionel Andrés Messi, also known as Leo Messi and nicknamed “La Pulga Atomica” which translates to “the atomic flea” – not an insult, just a nickname given to him because of his uber high running speed (recorded running as fast as 32.5 km per hour) and regarded as a pest to the opposition, not to mention his diminutive size. The man who proves that size factors into nothing so long as passion and ambition are set to full throttle has had tremendous career growth, all the way up to his current rank as the number one football player in the world.

Leo Messi, the king of football, has been a committed player to the Football Club of Barcelona since the age of thirteen. Recent changes, however, took the football world by storm as the highly valued player decided to take a move on from his old-time team and jump into another. Here is why Lionel Messi Left FC Barcelona and became player number 30 on the Paris Saint-Germain FC, but first a little on the early life of this athlete superstar.

The professional footballer was born on the 24th of June 1987 in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. He was of Italian and Spanish descent from his paternal side, and pure Italian from his maternal side; raised in a tight-knit football loving family. He developed a liking for athleticism from an early age and joined a local football club coached by his father at the early age of four. His entire family, especially his grandmother who accompanied him to every training and match, were very supportive of his athletic journey. Highly affected by his grandma’s death shortly after his eleventh birthday, Messi still commemorates her spirit after every goal he scores by looking up and pointing to the sky. The turbulent point of his upbringing happened at the age of ten when he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. After receiving hormone treatment that was supported by his father and a football coach who highly believed in him, Messi was relocated and signed with a youth academy in Barcelona called La Masia at the age of thirteen in the year 2000.

Messi went on to play for FC Barcelona for the next twenty-one years of his extraordinary career, breaking records and becoming the most achieving football player of all time. With a record of six Ballon d’Or awards and another 6 European Golden Shoe awards.

In August of 2021, after Messi had played 778 games for FC Barcelona in which he netted a groundbreaking number of 672 goals and delivered 266 assists, it was finalized that the MVP footballer bids his team farewell and moves on to join the Paris Saint-Germain FC. On the first of July, Messi became a free agent after his contract expired, with negotiations on a new deal complicated due to financial issues at Barcelona. On the 5th of August, it was announced that Messi would not be staying at the club, releasing the following statement:

“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 financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations on player registration).

As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.

FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandizement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”

The aforementioned financial obstacles refer to the strict salary cap rules in place from Spain’s La Liga (introduced in 2013). This implies that the Catalans needed to clear between 100 and 200 million Euros in wages to register Messi’s new contract along with the other free agents they were signing this summer. In hindsight, Barcelona had lost 487 million Euros last year alone because of the bleak repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic, and stands at a total debt of 1.17 billion Euros. The club’s dreadful balance is mostly due to the tremendous expenditure on player salaries (which rose by almost 50 percent between 2017 and 2020 alone). Since 2014, the Catalans have spent over 1 billion Euros on players. In the 2020 season, salaries amounted to 74 percent of Barcelona’s total income (with the exception of Messi’s salary, which accounts to 110 percent of the total income). So technically, it’s not La Liga’s fault, but FC Barcelona’s failure to comply with La Liga’s regulations.

It was after days of uncertainty, Lionel Messi on August 8th publicly confirmed that he was leaving FC Barcelona. With an emotional struggle, the greatest footballer in the world began crying even before he started his speech during the farewell ceremony at the Camp Nou Stadium. The superstar was, in fact, not expected to leave Barcelona FC (contrary to the sayings of some conspiracy theorists). Even with Barcelona’s financial woes being long out in the public and the rumors flying about regarding Messi’s departure, the prospect of Messi and Barcelona parting ways seems inconceivable, even upon the official expiration of his contract on the first of July. “We had everything agreed, but at the last minute, it couldn’t happen. This year I wanted to stay and I couldn’t. Last year I didn’t want to stay, and I said it,'' Messi said. Upon the developments of the last couple of months, he had obviously tried to negotiate and set new contract basis with FC Barcelona in order to remain as part of the team, and at some point in June they negotiated a fifty percent reduction in salary to make that happen – but the league made it impossible to accomplish at the end of the day. During his farewell speech, he said the following:

“"I gave everything for this club from the first day I arrived to the last. I never imagined having to say goodbye as I didn't think about it."

After more than two decades with FC Barcelona, marking an unprecedented legendary status in the world of football, Lionel Messi moves on to the Paris Saint-Germain team and remains coy on his next move. With his new arrival, major commercial possibilities could be unlocked ahead for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. We now witness sports history in the making, and the greatest is yet to come!



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