Even if a Messi PSG divorce is inevitable, there are only a few teams on earth that could possibly sign him. Let’s talk about what’s possible here.
After FC Barcelona‘s nightmarish debt crisis deepened in 2021, making it impossible to extend Messi’s deal without a massive pay cut, he left on a free transfer for Paris Saint-Germain, teaming him with Kylian Mbappé and Neymar to form one of the most talented front threes we’ve ever seen in football. The promise of all that talent did not translate into astronomical success on the pitch for the Messi PSG era, however.
While PSG comfortably took home the Ligue 1 title in 2021-22 by 15 points over Marseille and hold a six-point cushion over Marseille and Lens in this year’s table as of this writing, its results in other competitions have been nothing short of teeth-gnashing. The Parisians lost in the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League to Real Madrid in 2021-22 and fell in the same round this year to Bayern Munich, failing to score a single goal in either leg of the tie to lose 3-0 in aggregate. Domestically, PSG lost two years in a row in the Round of 16 in the Coupe de France, last year in penalties against Nice and this year in a 2-1 defeat to Marseille.
The 36-year-old Messi achieved the one thing he was missing in his international career back in December, hoisting the World Cup trophy for his native, beloved Argentina in a thrilling victory over Mbappé’s France in the iconic tournament’s final in Qatar. With seemingly nothing left to achieve in his storybook career, it’s hard to figure out what Messi’s next steps will be — to say nothing of the fact that only a few teams on the entire planet could reasonably hope to afford him.
Messi would be more than welcome to return to Barcelona, where he first signed as an academy product at age 13. He could make a groundbreaking move to Major League Soccer with David Beckham’s Inter Miami — a recurring subject of Messi rumors going back a few years now — where a slew of new opportunities (and a potential future equity stake) beckon. Maybe a mega-spending club like Chelsea throws a nine-figure deal at yet another attacking star as the club goes through managers like Joey Chestnut inhales hot dogs.
Messi will be rightfully celebrated, compensated, and glorified wherever he decided to go next, but it seems less likely by the day that PSG and Ligue 1 will be in his future.
Bonne chance, Leo.
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