Lionel Messi not staying at Barcelona is the news that every Barcelona fan was dreading. After 17 years at the Nou Camp, 672 goals in 778 appearances, 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, seven Copa Del Reys, and six Ballon d’Ors, Messi’s time in Catalonia is over.
The Impact of Lionel Messi Leaving Barcelona
Impact on Barcelona
All three were part of the last Barcelona side to win the Champions League, defeating Juventus 3-1 in the final in Berlin.
However, slowly but surely, the MSN trio has been broken up. Neymar left Barcelona in 2017, Luis Suarez followed in 2020, and now Lionel Messi in 2021.
The loss of the Argentinian superstar will undoubtedly have the biggest impact on Barcelona. In a poor season for the club, Messi was still La Liga’s top scorer with 30 goals last season. The next best for Barcelona was Antoine Griezmann with 13.
It is not only his goals that they will miss, but also his assists. Last season, he was Barcelona’s assist leader with nine. Again, Griezmann was next best with seven.
Over the last few seasons, Barcelona has relied heavily on Messi for moments of magic. As the likes of Xavi and Andreas Iniesta left, that reliance has only grown in recent seasons.
This reliance has grown even greater when you consider the quality within the squad slowly began to dwindle. Now, they have to rely on someone else to fill Lionel Messi’s shoes.
The Argentinian may only be 5ft 7in, but those are some big shoes to fill. It is almost impossible for Barcelona to replace him. Instead, the club has to restructure and focus on the team collective instead of relying on individuals.
How Lionel Messi Leaving Will Impact Barcelona Financially
Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona will not only impact them on the pitch, but also off it. It has been well publicised that they are in a financial crisis.
According to reports, the clubs’ wage budget for next season will be just £138 million, a quarter of their £579 million wage budget for the 2019/2020 season. This is due to La Liga’s budget cap.
Barcelona’s revenues have been badly affected due to the COVID pandemic. In 2020, they announced a €203 million decrease in revenue due to no matchday revenue or stadium tours.
Also, having not won the Champions League in six years, their sponsorship deal with Rakuten has fallen from €55 million to €30 million.
Messi leaving will also hit them financially. Sponsorship deals are a major source of income for a club like Barcelona. However, many of the contracts will have clauses that take Messi into account. These, of course, will be no more. Shirt sales will also drop and ticket sales could as well.
Spanish economist, Ivan Cabeza, estimated in Marca that Messi generates between €150 million and €200 million every single year for the Spanish club.
Just when Barcelona are in financial trouble, that loss of revenue will be hugely damaging for the club. Also, to allow Messi to leave for free is another sign of the financial mismanagement which has plagued the club in recent years.
How Lionel Messi Leaving Could be Good for Barcelona
Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona could be good for the club. The Spanish side needs to start afresh and restructure the club. The focus should be on bringing through young talents from their famous La Masia academy.
They already have a few top young players who have made it to their first team, including Ansu Fati and Pedri. The club needs to get back to those core values which have been neglected in recent years.
Barcelona also needs to learn from the mistakes they have made in the transfer market. Both Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have proved to be expensive transfer failures. The money spent would of been better spent on six or seven players which can improve the squad as a whole.
The hurt that their greatest ever player won’t be wearing the famous Blaugrana ever again will be felt for a long time to come.
However, there was success at FC Barcelona before Lionel Messi arrived and they will be success after if the club gets back to their core values of bringing through youth and make sure they are not over-reliant on individuals.
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