Why did Lionel Messi Leave Barcelona for PSG?
Lionel Messi is five wins away from winning yet another major trophy for Paris Saint-Germain since moving from Barcelona. While the move from Barcelona in 2021 was a surprise, there was some logic behind it.
Barcelona had been Messi’s home since he moved from Argentina as a 13-year-old boy. From 2000 to 2021, he became one of the sport’s greatest-ever players and piled his trophy cabinet full of hardware.
You could not talk about Barcelona without talking about Messi and vice versa. It seemed like Messi was destined to play his entire career for the Catalan club. However, that changed suddenly in 2021 when Messi made the move to PSG.
The reason for his departure can be considered an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2017, well before the pandemic started, Messi signed a new deal that saw him make £500,000 per week until 2021. At the time, the deal seemed feasible for Barcelona despite being an absurd amount of money. It quickly changed when COVID hit.
Like many teams, Barcelona was losing money hand over fist and quickly found themselves in quite a bit of debt. From 2020-21, Barcelona lost €487 million and was in deep financial trouble. As a result of that, they were unable to offer Messi anywhere near the money he wanted to extend his contract.
PSG, on the other hand, had more than enough money to draw the Argentine to Ligue 1. The French giants were swift to make a move for Messi offering him a two-year contract worth $41 million per year.
That move has since paid off for both the player and the team. In their first season with Messi, PSG returned to winning ways by regaining the Ligue 1 title after a second-place finish the year before. They also won the 2022 Trophée des Champions, beating Nantes 4-0 with Messi scoring the opener.
Since moving to PSG, Messi has rediscovered his great form, especially on the international stage, having won both the 2021 Copa America and the 2022 World Cup. To reward his World Cup-winning year he was named the most successful male international athlete of the year by L’Equipe.
Messi is closing in on winning his 12th different competition. The Coupe de France is the only trophy that Messi has been able to secure but has yet to. He has won all of the other 11 competitions he has played in at least once.
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