On Dec. 14, 2000, Barcelona FC, one of the most well-known football clubs in the world, scrambled to sign a child prodigy. It was the father of the 13 year-old player who signed the contract that was, in the moment, written on a napkin. This 13 year-old boy was none other than Lionel Messi. Messi has broken and set many records at FC Barcelona, including most appearances for the club (778), most goals for the club as well as most goals ever scored under one club (672). However, over the summer of 2021, the unexpected happened. At the mark of midnight on July 1, Lionel Messi’s 4-year nearly $600 million contract expired. This meant that one of the best soccer players in history was now a free agent. While there were talks of FC Barcelona attempting to re-sign the giant they had attained many years ago, the Spanish club simply couldn’t afford him anymore.
On Sunday, August 8, Messi held an official farewell press conference where he sorrowfully said goodbye to his club of 21 years. Then, after numerous rumors, Messi was signed by another club: Paris Saint-Germain FC (PSG), the wealthiest club in the French football league. Despite turning 34 over the summer, Lionel Messi is still considered to be one of best players in the world and recently won the Copa América (an international tournament for all South American nations) captaining the national team of his home nation, Argentina. Because he was a free agent, PSG didn’t have to pay anything to FC Barcelona; they only had to worry about Messi’s wage. Lionel Messi signed a contract with PSG for two years, a yearly salary of about $41 million and an option for a third year. After having officially signed with PSG, Messi’s old FC Barcelona teammate who left to join PSG in 2017, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Neymar), offered to give up the number 10 for Messi to claim.
Instead, Lionel Messi declined the offer and has taken up the number 30 on his jersey, which was the first number he wore for the senior FC Barcelona team. Having attained four extraordinary players over the summer—Messi, Ramos, Donnarumma and Wijnaldum—it is speculated that PSG is making an immense effort to win the Champions League for the first time ever in 2022. Yet it can not be overstated how big of an impact Messi will have on the team off the Parisian pitch as well. Rumors on how many Messi jerseys have been sold in the first 24 hours of the signing span from 250,000 to 830,000. No matter the actual amount, it is sufficient to say that Lionel Messi will be drawing in massive amounts of revenue for his new club. Lionel Messi made his debut for PSG on August 29, featuring in a 2-0 win against Reims in League 1. All League 1 games can be streamed on beIN SPORTS.
Sources: ESPN, FC Barcelona