On August 10th, 2021, one transfer sent shock waves across European football. The club from Paris signed the forever figure of Barcelona. PSG stole the crown jowl of Camp Nou without paying a single cent. Surely this has to be the greatest heist in football. Let’s talk about it.
Barcelona was in an incredible amount of debt. They couldn’t afford to keep their star man, because the books were in the gutter. So unwillingly Barcelona had to let go of Messi and now he plays in the fashion capital of the world.
But what if I told you this could have been planned months ago?
Now let’s talk about Paris first, before we get to that question. Paris was not a popular club before their takeover. Qatar Sports Investment took over the club in 2011. With the support of owners from the Middle East, their wallets grew 1000-fold.
With money to spend and no one to stop, PSG became a force to reckon with. They improved their talent within the squad by signing premium players.
They signed players such as Zlatan, Cavani, Di Maria, and, later, Neymar and Mbappe. PSG became a household name in European football after making significant investments over a nine-year period.
On the other hand, the old elites such as – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, United, etc, we’re not doing good financially.
All these clubs that are the powerhouses of European football decided to do something about that.
So, a new competition was put in order, which was to virtually replace the Champions League. This project which was led by the Real Madrid President – Florentino Pérez was called the Super League. (Must have heard of it!)
The Super League is easy to understand. The old elites cannot be relegated from this tournament, no matter what points they get. Even if Real Madrid loses every game, they will still be able to compete in the following season. The reason is simple: they are extremely popular hence they need to stay.
The Super League was created in order for mega-popular clubs that are experiencing financial difficulties to be able to stabilize their revenue streams.
It was virtually – Champions League quality matches every weekend. Barcelona plays City on one weekend, Real the next, and Liverpool after that. The money to be made was incredible, this venture would single-handedly save many clubs from financial turmoil.
However, the Bundesliga clubs were not a part of this, and to everyone’s surprise, neither was PSG!
Suddenly the Antagonist of European football (due to its Arab roots) became the Protagonist. PSG joined forces with UEFA in support of their rallying cry, “Football is for the Fans.”
The massive backlash from fans, pundits, players, and nearly everyone else in the footballing world was directed at this nonsense competition.
Under extreme pressure, this competition was forced to resign, and that was the end of it.
So how did all of this lead to PSG signing Messi?
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chairman of PSG, pulled off an absolute masterstroke. He was aware that the old elites were experiencing financial difficulties. He didn’t want them to have a chance to be full again.
Instead of going for greed and joining hands, Nasser Al-Khelaifi declined the invitation.
With no money and a bad run of form for these clubs, PSG could dominate the footballing world. Why share this power when you can be the lone king. With Neymar and Mbappe on their side and an excellent marketing team. PSG was winning on and off the pitch.
It is because of this chess move, Barcelona couldn’t afford to keep their main man and Messi departed from Camp Nou.
PSG’s one masterstroke ensured that they gained UEFA’s trust, became a hero in the eyes of the public, and signed the best player in the world without paying a single cent.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi understood that without the money from the Super League, clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus won’t be able to compete with PSG in the transfer market. They would eventually have to sell their best players to raise funds.
That proved true when PSG signed Ramos, Donnarumma, Hakimi, and, in the end, Lionel Messi. Perhaps this was a master plan, or perhaps it was just a calculated hunch. Either way, PSG is not complaining!
All they have to do now is win the Champions League!