The most unexpected transfer in history
The biggest football headline of the summer is the free transfer of Lionel Messi from Barcelona, where he joined as a boy, to Paris Saint Germain (PSG) as one of the greatest to ever grace a football pitch. It was never imagined that Messi would leave Barcelona, so if you were told 5 years that he and Sergio Ramos would be teammates in Paris, you’d call it fiction. Nonetheless, it happened and it’s an exciting time for those in Paris.
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Why did Messi leave Barcelona?
The move from FC Barcelona wasn’t something that was forced by either Messi or the club, but by the financial rules in La Liga. Messi was due to sign a contract extension to start the 2021/22 season, but due to the limit on player salaries in La Liga, it could not be signed. This is something similar to the salary cap in US sports which may benefit football in Europe. Messi was left heartbroken, as he announced his farewell at a press conference which was viewed by millions. Fans were left distraught outside of Camp Nou, with those begging him not to leave. You would have though La Liga would have bent the rules a little to keep Messi in their league to drive traffic toward the Spanish League. His stature in football is incomparable, as everyone either knows or has heard of Messi.
No reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City
Although some may have assumed the financial power of PSG was bound to convince Messi to come to Paris, it was English Premier giants; Manchester City who were originally favourites to sign the Argentine. Messi had worked under Pep Guardiola before, when he was the manager of Barcelona, and a reunion was much expected this summer. However, the arrival of Jack Grealish for £100m may have had something to do with this not materialising much further.
Instead, Messi reunites with former teammate; Neymar
During their time together previously, Messi and Neymar won 1x UEFA Champions League, 3x Copa del Rey and 2x La Liga in just 3 years. There is no doubt that these men are natural winners and fight to be Champions wherever they play. Most notedly, they formed a deadly trio alongside Luis Suarez who is now playing for Atletico Madrid, scoring numerous goals in all competitions. Below we can take a direct look at how dominant Messi and Neymar were during their time together in Barcelona.
The statistics do all the talking and show how deadly this pair were. It was so extraordinary that alongside Suarez, as a trio they were outscoring TEAMS at times. Should other teams in Europe be worried about this reunion? Quite frankly, yes! In addition, the numbers of Lionel Messi and Neymar, they join the other highly regarded young French striker; Kylian Mbappe, to form the a deadly trio; MNM. In comparison to Messi and Neymar, since Mbappe joined PSG at just 18 years of age, he has scored 94 goals in 111 appearances in all competitions…Incredible numbers. Now imagine that alongside Messi and Neymar…
Who will be the main man? A rift in waiting?
On paper, Messi, Neymar and Mbappe sounds like a manager’s dream, but things don’t always go to plan. Three players that all want to be the go-to man in the clutch moments can cause unwanted tension. It’s not something that hasn’t happened before, as the new Manchester United signing Cristiano Ronaldo became increasingly frustrated with the then world’s most expensive player Gareth Bale in Madrid. Ronaldo made it very clear that he was the superstar who wanted all of the headlines. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen in Paris.