Messi switches to Paris Saint-Germain: Who profits?

After 21 years with FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi will now play for Paris Saint-Germain. Since Barça is heavily in debt, the Financial Fair Play rules that apply in the Spanish league apparently made Messi's staying with the team impossible, even if his salary had been cut by 50 percent. In Paris, Messi will now reportedly be paid 40 million euros net per year, plus bonuses. Commentators say this transfer has nothing to do with fair play.

Open/close all quotes
Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Financial Fair Play is failing

Disappointed, Der Tagesspiegel comments:

“In 2019, the club narrowly escaped a fine from Uefa for alleged breaches of the 'Financial Fair Play' regulations. That PSG has nevertheless decided it can afford to pay Messi's salary, estimated at some 40 million euros net, demonstrates yet again how ineffective the control mechanisms of European football are - and that unified solutions are urgently needed. When in doubt, the clubs always seem to devise a way to stretch payments or whitewash accounts. Juan Branco, a lawyer and Barça member, has filed a complaint with the French courts and the European Commission against Messi's transfer on the grounds that PSG has violated the 'Financial Fair Play' rules even more than the Catalans, but his chances of success are negligible.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

A poster boy for the World Cup in Qatar

Qatar now controls the world of football, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung concludes:

“The Emir bought into the French TV market in 2011, and ever since he has also owned the French club Paris Saint-Germain. ... Now - with just over a year to go before the World Cup - comes the PR coup par excellence. ... The Emir has secured Messi, for whom suddenly only Paris exists after his 'life's work' Barça. ... Qatar is controlling the world of football and will probably also use Messi as an ambassador for the World Cup. Qatar needs PR, a positive mood. ... The acquisition of Lionel Messi underscores who calls the shots now in international football - and how many are kowtowing.”

Sabah (TR) /

Paris wins

Sabah points to who else benefits from Messi's transfer:

“Barcelona did all it could to keep Messi. But the club's hands were tied by the Spanish league's spending restrictions! Not only will the Barcelona team lose out. La Liga's ratings will plummet! Maradona remained a key source of income for Naples even after he retired. From souvenirs to merchandise to special tourist tours, everything related to Maradona is commodified. All the more so for Messi. Barcelona is equated with Messi. ... French football and the city of Paris will benefit from this transfer.”