In a move that shook up the world of men’s soccer, 35 time trophy holder, Lionel Messi has signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain, a soccer club that competes in the top division of European soccer. With the possibility of a third year, Messi’s new contract includes a $41 million annual net salary with extra bonuses.
Messi’s sudden move came as a shock because of his previous 21 year stay at Barcelona Fútbol Club. Messi signed with the national team at the young age of 13 and has competed with them ever since.
According to The Guardian, Messi did not plan to leave Barcelona this year, which explains why he signed a five year deal with the team in early August.
The salary limits specific to La Liga, the Spanish fútbol league, forced Barcelona to make a significant pay cut to Messi’s contract, which was about 50%.
“Messi was stunned and distraught when Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, said La Liga’s rules on salary limits meant the club had no way to register him,” according to Fabrizio Romano.
Messi has received a lot of backlash because of his move from Barcelona and many people say he could have stayed; if he loved Barcelona enough he would play for nothing, fans argue. Messi himself actually agreed to play for a greatly reduced salary that would rectify the situation, but that would not have been possible due to a Spanish law that requires employers to make a minimum of 50% of their previous wage.
Messi’s father and agent, Jorge Mendes, stressed the fact that they needed to “find a solution,” according to ESPN, which ultimately meant transferring to another club.
Both Messi and his father were impressed by Paris Saint-Germain’s desire to have Messi play for them after being approached by both PSG’s president Nasser al-Khelaifi and PSG’s manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Prior to Messi’s press conference in Barcelona, a verbal agreement was negotiated with PSG.
According to NBC Sports, on August 9, the deal was finalized and Messi and his family were flown out to Paris.
Messi expressed his emotions upon his arrival in Paris and possibly playing against his former club in the Champions League, a soccer tournament of 32 teams competing in five separate rounds to be named the best European soccer club.
“I don’t know if we will face Barcelona. It would be very nice to go back to Barcelona. I hope it will be with fans, given the pandemic. It would be very strange to play there in another shirt, but it can happen and we will see,” Messi said.
Messi also mentioned how excited he was for new beginnings at PSG and his hope to win big titles.
“It was very complicated to exit Barcelona without knowing where I was going to go. Barcelona is my home, I have been there since I was a kid. They knew I would arrive in a strong team, a team aiming to win the Champions League,” Messi said.
Messi had a tearful exit from Barcelona and is hoping to return to the club someday, but for now his main goal is to win championships with PSG and push forward his career.