Lionel Messi: Paris Saint-Germain now has “no excuse” in search of domination of the Champions League


But can this team offer Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which bought PSG in 2011, the Champions League – the trophy that owners dream of the most, but which has so far eluded them?

The signings of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, longtime opponents of Messi Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi – added to an already stacked squad that includes Neymar and Kylian Mbappé – mean that PSG will undoubtedly be the big one. favorite to lift this Champions League of the season.

“QSI bought PSG in 2011 because they wanted more visibility for the country ahead of a possible World Cup,” Christian Nourry, founder of Get French Football News, told CNN Sport.

“This World Cup is approaching now, it is only next year, but what has happened in this decade is that we have seen Al Thani, the owner, fall in love with this club, really interested in it, ”Nourry added, referring to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

“[It’s] much more than a favorite project for him and he saw this opportunity to potentially create the biggest offensive troika we’ve seen in modern football in Mbappé, Neymar and Messi, but there are no excuses either. now.”

At PSG, Messi will work under the direction of coach Mauricio Pochettino, a former Parisian club player and Argentinian compatriot.

“Mauricio Pochettino has to win absolutely everything, including the Champions League, and he has to do it in style, because style has been something that Paris Saint-Germain have really struggled to do, with a style of play largely counter-attacker in the last two or three seasons, ”added Nourry.

So no pressure, Mauricio.

READ: Lionel Messi tells CNN he thinks PSG are the best place for him to win UCL again
READ: 20 moments that defined Barcelona maestro Lionel Messi

The “ideal” PSG for Messi

But it’s a sentiment that Messi seems to agree with.

In an interview with CNN after arriving in Paris, the Argentinian said he believes PSG are the “perfect” place for him to finally win another Champions League title.

Despite Messi’s consistently superlative individual performances over the years, the only flaw in his record in recent seasons has been his failure to once again lead Barcelona to the most coveted prize in European football – although it is widely supported that the The Catalan club’s inability to build a suitable team around it was the cause.

However, this will not be the case at PSG, a club now packed with talent and a visceral desire to win a first Champions League in its history.

“For me, on a personal level, I would love to win another Champions League, as I have said in previous years, and I think I have arrived at the perfect place which is ready for it,” said Messi on CNN.

“We have the same goals. He has impressive players, one of the best teams in the world and hopefully we can achieve this goal that Paris wants so much, I want so much and I hope we can enjoy it with the Parisians too. “

Messi's signing for PSG means the French giants will have one of the most formidable offensive lines in the history of the game.

PSG’s new trio of Messi, Neymar and Mbappé are arguably the most talented attack in world football and will give nightmares to opposition defenders and managers trying to find ways to stop them.

“It will all depend on the number of goals and assists he has [Messi] compare yourself to Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, ”said Nourry. “Who will take most of this responsibility? I can’t wait to find out. “

Off the pitch, however, questions have already been asked about PSG’s finances and how the club have been able to get around Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

“We are always attentive to financial fair play. This is the first thing we check with business, financial and legal people before signing someone,” PSG CEO Nasser Al- said on Wednesday. Khelaifi, when Messi was officially revealed.

When rumors of Messi’s arrival started to circulate, it was suggested that PSG should offload Mbappé – apparently at Real Madrid – in order to balance the books. The French club, however, were adamant, which is far from being the case.

“The message is clear from Paris Saint-Germain around Kylian Mbappé: the two situations are not linked,” says Nourry. “Mbappé still has 12 months on the contract. In fact, Paris Saint-Germain are convinced that this signing will further encourage them to sign a further extension.

“The argument that we hear a lot in the capital of France at the moment is: why would you go this summer or next to Real Madrid to play alongside Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior, when you could spend the next three seasons alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi for your development. I think that’s a pretty solid argument. “

French football rules allow clubs to operate with a payroll that represents almost 100% of his annual income, a far cry from the strict Spanish rules that ultimately forced Messi out of Barcelona.

UEFA, the governing body of European football, has also relaxed its FFP regulations since the Covid-19 outbreak, allowing clubs to operate with annual losses of more than $ 35 million as long as they can prove that these were due to the pandemic.

“That said, Paris Saint-Germain have pledged to make 180 million euros ($ 211 million) in player sales this summer to the French football financial watchdog, the DNCG,” said Nourry.

“They only made around € 8million of that so it’s going to be a very busy four weeks if they want to fill that out and because the transfer market has moved very, very slowly for the majority of clubs, I think it’s going to be tricky.

“But Paris Saint-Germain are looking to sell – or are open for sale – 12 to 14 players, including less important stars like Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia, but [there is] no intention to sell a key player this summer in Paris. “

A boost for French football?

Perhaps the only people who are licking their lips at Messi’s arrival as much as the PSG fans are those in charge of the French Premier Division, Ligue 1 and Amazon.

“The arrival of Lionel Messi will increase the attractiveness and visibility of our championship on all continents,” Ligue 1 president Vincent Labrune said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This unique event is the result of the strategy of the management of Paris Saint-Germain, which has enabled the Parisian club to become one of the biggest franchises in world sport in 10 years.

“On behalf of French professional football, I would like to thank the President and CEO of PSG Nasser Al-Khelaïfi for making this dream possible,” added Lebrune, who ended his statement with three words: “Messi, c ‘ is magic! “

Nourry calls the signing a “huge surprise” for French football, but it is certainly welcome given the financial difficulties the league has faced over the past 18 months.

Ligue 1 not only had to deal with the implications of being the only one of the top five European leagues unable to complete the 2019/20 season due to Covid, but also the collapse of broadcast partner Mediapro, which had paid nearly a billion dollars. per year for broadcasting rights.

Amazon has since reclaimed the majority of the broadcast rights, around eight games per week, in a deal reported by the Financial Times worth $ 323 million per season, with French broadcaster Canal + paying $ 390 million. per season for two games per week. .

“[It’s] a great opportunity seized by Paris Saint-Germain and which will hopefully translate into a lot of exposure for Ligue 1, ”said Nourry. Mediapro.

“So there is a lot of excitement in France, but that probably won’t stop around seven or eight clubs in the division this season from not being able to repay the loans they took during Covid-19.”

However, Kieran Maguire, author of ‘The Price of Football’, believes that while PSG will certainly receive a financial boost from Messi’s signing, this will not necessarily be the case for Ligue 1.

Maguire says the increased lack of competitiveness at the top of the league, created by PSG’s financial spending this summer, will “wane broadcaster interest quite quickly” and is still not convinced that Messi’s signing “will create a long queue “of desperate contenders to pay for TV Rights.

“PSG will benefit because we already saw it last night – 150,000 shirts sold in seven minutes was the assertion – so they will benefit from the opportunity to generate more money on match days,” he said. he told CNN. “Even if they don’t display the price of regular tickets, the sales department will actually be able to name their own price for hospitality packages.

Lionel Messi jerseys are in great demand in PSG club stores.

“If you want to get into that box – if you’re a large law firm or accountant or if you’re an investment banker and want to entertain a client – we have Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar at the helm. the line. How much are you willing to pay for that? So I think they’ll be able to increase their income. “

Given the considerable talents of Messi and PSG, which now have arguably the greatest attacking trio in history, Maguire says it also seems likely the club will win more awards by reaching the latter stages of the League of Nations. champions.

“So I think there are a lot of advantages for the club,” he explains. “But for French football as a whole, yes, there will be a first media interest and a value of curiosity attached to its recruitment, [but] if that will turn into significant increases in the value of a broadcast deal… I’m not so sure. “

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