07/08/2021

With Messi's departure, Barça loses out

2 min
Leo Messi in an archive image

At 19:46 on Thursday 5 August, the news broke. A 12-line statement put an end to 21 years of relationship without any kind of epic. The best player in the world, the player with more official matches in the history of Barça, Leo Messi, was leaving the club. Rather, Barça was disassociating itself from Messi. For many sports journalists, it could be a maneuver of President Laporta to pressure both the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, and the locker room to lower salaries. However, the threat was confirmed on Friday: Messi will leave Barça and its president attributes it to the poor economic situation of the entity and La Liga. Laporta says he does not want to mortgage the club's audiovisual rights for the next 50 years.

It is true that the financial health of Barça is very delicate, but there is a lack of information to understand why, if Barça and the player wanted to continue together, in the end they will not. In fact, the same Thursday the father of the Argentine star had arrived in Barcelona to sign the renewal contract. "The club of my life", said Messi, almost a year ago, to ensure that he would not go to court against Barca, after sending a burofax to the club saying he was clinging to a clause to break his relationship with the entity. This burofax returned yesterday to the memory of many Barça fans, for which Thursday had a certain déjà-vu aftertaste. A year ago for many began to visualise what seemed an entelechy: Messi ending his days as a footballer wearing a shirt that was not the azulgrana one. But Laporta arrived with the electoral promise to renew Messi and, when everything seemed on the verge, the agreement has been twisted. The president of Barça will have work to do because with the departure of Messi salaries will go from representing 110% of the turnover of the club to be 95%, still unsustainable from the accounting point of view. All the European clubs - including Madrid - have seen their income significantly reduced with the stadiums closed to the public because of the pandemic, but big European clubs and the eternal rival have managed to reduce their players' salaries.

It is also true that the club, with 120 years of history, is above players, coaches and presidents, but unfortunately Barça loses out. It loses sportswise, in brand image and, therefore, economically. Messi's farewell will mean a small economic respite, but what will happen to sponsorships? Barça without Messi is less Barça. Planet football will continue to enjoy the brilliance of the Argentine, albeit in a different shirt, much to the dismay of Barcelona fans.