Lionel Messi has joined PSG, it’s the transfer that has sent shockwaves through the footballing world. Jason Pettigrove explains how the betting markets have been impacted across the European leagues.
This time a year ago Lionel Messi was odds on to leave Barcelona, and only the threat of having to take the club of his life to court stopped him from going through with a move away.
Fast forward to August 5 this year, the day Barca’s best-ever player was expected to sign his final contract with the club, and the most unexpected bombshell was dropped.
He wouldn’t be staying after all because Barca had no money with which to keep him. His wages would’ve seen player salaries accounting for 110% of Barcelona’s income and even if he played for free, salaries would still account for 95%.
Spanish financial fair play rules suggest that salaries ideally shouldn’t exceed 70%, evidencing just how much work the club still has to do.
If you scored 20 goals and made 10 assists:
– For 10 seasons, you'd have 300 goal contributions.
– For 20 seasons, you'd have 600 goal contributions.
– For 30 seasons, you'd have 900 goal contributions.
Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona with 1,003 goal contributions. pic.twitter.com/gxSvKihg5B
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) August 10, 2021
The fall-out from the shock of knowing Messi will never play for the Catalans again has seen many point the finger at president, Joan Laporta. How he would’ve known well before last week that the club couldn’t afford to keep their star player.
Did Laporta use his friendship with Messi as leverage to be re-elected? Entirely possible. In any event, he still has to steer the Blaugranes out of the choppiest of waters.
Over the last couple of seasons, PSG are finally beginning to look like genuine contenders for the premier European trophy, but in 2021/22, given the upgrade in their squad across the summer, it really is win or bust for Mauricio Pochettino’s side now.Jason Pettigrove
Without Messi that’s a huge ask, however, the club do have the luxury of some fabulous youngsters coming through the ranks.
Pedri is already in the consciousness of football supporters everywhere, as is Ansu Fati. Though Ilaix Moriba may move on, Yusuf Demir and Gavi are two other players to keep tabs on, as well as seeing how Oscar Mingueza and Ronald Araujo continue to develop.
Ronald Koeman has his work cut out to keep the team competitive, though the Blaugranes are still just 2/1 to win the La Liga title, ahead of Atletico Madrid at 3/1 and just behind Real Madrid at 5/4. Sevilla, fourth favourites before the first whistle is blown are a value bet at 20/1.
And what of Paris Saint-Germain, Messi’s expected next destination?
If they’re able to hold onto Kylian Mbappe, their front three along with Neymar could rival anything Barca’s ‘MSN’ achieved back in 2015.
The longed-for Champions League will be the French club’s priority, and Messi’s expected presence has quickly seen them installed as 3/1 favourites. Man City at 7/2 are closest in the betting, with Barca way out as ninth favourites at 25/1.
"Please Lord, don't let me f*** it up again now I've got a front three of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe." pic.twitter.com/ZrPRjwfp8G
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) August 10, 2021
Over the last couple of seasons, PSG are finally beginning to look like genuine contenders for the premier European trophy, but in 2021/22, given the upgrade in their squad across the summer, it really is win or bust for Mauricio Pochettino’s side now.
Suggestions that Leo is heading to Paris to effectively put his feet up in a weaker league are preposterous. As was seen in the press conference to confirm his departure from Barca, the fire will still burn brightly for at least a couple more seasons.
He’s a serial winner and a naturally competitive beast, he wanted a ‘competitive project’ to play in and at PSG he’ll have it. Alongside the likes of other new signings Sergio Ramos, Gini Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi and Gianluigi Donnarumma, there’s a point to prove.
They’ll not prove it in Ligue 1, mind. PSG are already 1/8 to wrestle back the title from Lille, meaning that all of the eggs will be being placed in the Champions League basket.
Frankly, it’s the best chance they’ll ever have to finally get their hands on the cup with the big ears, and that would be the best way to bookend Messi’s unbelievable career.