Lionel Messi to PSG: Superstar’s Paris Saint-Germain transfer could save Ligue 1 from financial cliff

“We aren’t trying to recruit Lionel Messi,” mentioned Paris Saint-Germain chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi again in 2011 shortly after Qatar Sports activities Investments’ arrival at Parc des Princes. “We would like the brand new Messi. We need to put money into the nice abilities of tomorrow.”

Ten years on from that transformative summer season overseen by sporting director Leonardo, the Brazilian is again on the membership and placing the ending touches — together with Al-Khelaifi — to arguably the strongest switch window exhibiting within the French giants’ historical past.

With Messi because the surprising cherry on high, PSG and Ligue 1 are receiving a serious inflow of established star energy with Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum additionally arriving as free brokers and Achraf Hakimi becoming a member of from ailing Italian champions Inter Milan.

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Other than the wild summer season of 2017, when Les Parisiens welcomed Brazilian celebrity Neymar to the French capital for $260 million after which managed to lure French prodigy Kylian Mbappe from home rivals AS Monaco, Le Championnat has by no means seen such a flurry of high-profile exercise.

That the likes of Messi, Ramos, Donnarumma, Wijnaldum and Hakimi all arrive at this second is critical as Ligue 1 has by no means been weaker — no less than not in an financial sense — with home tv rights obliterated and matchday income solely simply set to return post-COVID-19.

With the collapse of Mediapro’s $914 million per 12 months deal (for 80% of rights), Amazon’s subsequent entry into the market at $305 million per 12 months (additionally 80% of video games) and the authorized sparring between Canal+ and Qatar-backed beIN Sports activities over their $390 million contract (for the 2 remaining matches), the worth of French top-flight soccer has plummeted exponentially.

Regardless of Lille OSC’s surprising, however deserved, 2020-21 title success, curiosity in Ligue 1 is decrease than ever — significantly in France itself as a result of apathy created by the monetary wrestle and the exorbitant costs demanded to easily entry the entire home motion from house.

Till now, that’s. With Messi coming to Ligue 1, France immediately boasts arguably the highest three gamers on the planet at current with Neymar and Mbappe already in Paris and star abilities in just about each different place throughout the pitch.

The 34-year-old report six-time Ballon d’Or winner simply lifted this summer season’s Copa America with Argentina and his 30-goal haul in La Liga, regardless of one of many weakest Barca groups that La Pulga ever performed in, means that he nonetheless has a lot to supply on the pitch and that’s mirrored in the truth that PSG are reportedly giving him a two-year cope with an possibility for a 3rd.

The truth that Messi and Ronald Koeman’s Catalan aspect saved the Spanish title race alive till late on and gave PSG a scare within the UEFA Champions League spherical of 16 earlier than finally bowing out, regardless of a screamer from Messi, additional emphasised that he’s removed from a spent drive.

With the ability to align a beginning XI with Messi, Neymar and Mbappe in assault with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti, Marquinhos and Keylor Navas as only a few members of an all-star supporting solid makes Mauricio Pochettino’s males essentially the most eye-watering group on paper.

Such is Messi’s drawing energy that, whereas French soccer’s Ligue de Soccer Professionnel (LFP) governing physique has allowed the home state of affairs to descend into chaos over the previous 12-18 months regardless of Neymar and Mbappe’s presence, Messi’s arrival genuinely presents them with an opportunity to fix a few of that injury.

His celebrity standing stays undimmed and he’s second to none when it comes to loyal followings which interprets into a worldwide following that has been feasted upon by La Liga and the Champions League over the previous decade or so and can now flip its consideration in the direction of Ligue 1 to maintain up with its man.

Ever since QSI’s arrival in Paris, Le Championnat has failed to actually faucet into its huge potential worldwide viewers with the Champions League the principle showcase for the capital membership’s conveyor belt of expertise over time from Zlatan Ibrahimovic by way of Edinson Cavani to Neymar and Mbappe.

Though Messi’s preliminary two-year contract may not sufficient to safe main long-term curiosity, merely his coming to French soccer offers the LFP and all Ligue 1 golf equipment a chance to draw and harness a possible new viewers which may present useful extra funds.

The injury completed to the home panorama up to now is bordering on essential, however Messi’s arrival in France is able to altering issues for the higher — particularly if he stays for the total potential three-year interval. | Lionel Messi to PSG: Famous person’s Paris Saint-Germain switch may save Ligue 1 from monetary cliff


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