Lionel Messi’s transfer is a symptom of soccer’s dire financial straits, concludes a survey by analysts.
The 34-year-old Argentinian star on Tuesday signed for Paris Saint-Germain after failing to agree a new deal with Barcelona, where he had spent his entire career.
The pair parted company after the impact of Covid-19, combined with poor results and failed signings, left the Spanish club in danger of breaching domestic financial rules.
For PSG, the two-year deal worth a reported 35 million euros a year, represents a lower risk than previous landmark transfers.
In 2017 the French club paid Barcelona 222 million euros for Neymar da Silva Santos Junior. A year later Juventus spent 100 million euros to lure Messi’s arch-rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was then 33, from Real Madrid.
Still, despite the backing of its Qatari owners, PSG does not have endless resources: its revenue fell 15% to 541 million euros in the 2019/2020 season, according to Deloitte, the Reuters report says.
It will have to sell a lot of Messi-branded shirts to recoup its investment.