Hi There!

I hope your Wednesday is going well. Welcome back to another episode of Ask Ash, where I interview WatchMojo Founder & CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan and ask him questions about various things, ranging from covering the news to giving career advice to students & entrepreneurs.

Yesterday, Lionel Messi officially completed his transfer from FC Barcelona to PSG, ending a 21-year relationship between FC Barcelona and the 6 time Ballon d’Or winner. Initially, Messi and Barcelona had agreed to a new 5-year contract that would have him stay at the club until he was 39 and even taking a 50 percent pay-cut in his new deal. However, due to La Liga’s financial rules set in place, it would have made the deal impossible, even with Messi taking the pay cut. He now rejoins Neymar in Paris, alongside several superstar players who aim to challenge for the Ligue 1 and Champions League Titles.

I wanted to get Ash’s reactions to one of, if not the biggest transfer in football history, and what some of his takeaways from this deal are.

What were your thoughts on Lionel Messi not re-signing at FC Barcelona and moving to PSG?

1) First and foremost, you have to ask yourself if this is some kind of revenge for FC Barcelona‘s attempt to launch the Super League. In many ways La Liga is or at least was one of the biggest leagues in the world, with the biggest names. When Ronaldo left Real Madrid, obviously it lost some cachet. Now with Messi gone, had FC Barcelona pursued and joined that Super League, naturally it would’ve weakened La Liga. It’s as if Barcelona took a shot, missed, and now La Liga smelled blood, so they hurt FC Barcelona by hitting them at their Achilles heel. Now that may seem a bit dramatic but given what goes on in soccer politics, it’s not impossible either.

2) Conspiracy theories aside, this is also a simple case of La Liga wanting its clubs to have their finances in order. Covid blew a hole in revenue sources and with the variants ensuring we won’t be back to normal any time soon, you can appreciate that the league wants teams to respect certain ratios between costs and revenues… given that Barcelona had built up their teams with $1 billion in debt, something had to give. So this could really be a league to rein in the big spenders, especially those who have done so through debt. 

3) At 34 years of age, it’s really impossible to think that Messi could have accomplished more at Barcelona: 10 team championships, almost 700 club goals. It’s insane. But Barcelona‘s finances were simply not going to allow it to compete in the near future, so given his age and the financials, the reality is he had to go elsewhere. 

4) Of course, Paris Saint-Germain is not just anywhere else. It’s literally one of two, maybe three teams that could have afforded him. PSG and Manchester City are “petro clubs,” state-owned organizations with unlimited funds. There’s also Chelsea, whose owner may as well be a state. 

5) Now speaking of PSG, this is the club that Neymar left Barcelona for, so he could have more of the spotlight. This is also the club that Kylian Mbappe plays for. He and Neymar are arguably the two heirs apparent to Ronaldo and Messi, so it will be very very interesting to see how they get along together. After all, you don’t win the Ballon d’Or for stopping shots or passing, usually, you win those for scoring.

6) During his press conference, Messi said something that reiterated the importance of mental strength. He said when you play a game and miss on a goal or lose, you wake up the next day, and train to avenge that. I find that fascinating, that really is the difference between pro athletes who can look forward, excel… and not look back in regret… versus many people who struggle with that.

All in all, I think PSG becomes a favorite for the Champions League, but we have seen high-profile transfers not always work out. It will also be interesting to see how long the three all-stars stick together.

Lastly, if you want to submit questions to Ash directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://watchmojo.com/suggest/AskMojo%20-%20WatchMojo’s%20founder%20Ash