Admit it, you were still holding out hope that Lionel Messi would somehow find his way back to FC Barcelona, and that everything that had taken place in the past week, the tearful goodbyes, the flood of social media messages, was some carefully-orchestrated attempt to pressure La Liga into allowing Messi to continue at the only club he had ever played for.
Unless, that is, you are a Paris Saint-Germain fan. In that case, the past week has felt like a dream, with Tuesday the day that dream became reality.
Everyone who was still in denial about Messi’s looming departure from the Camp Nou was hit with a powerful dose of reality on Tuesday morning, when Messi traveled to Paris to finalize the deal, and emerged from a window sporting a shirt with Paris written on it, providing the first undeniable image that his move to PSG was a foregone conclusion.
That moment when the Lionel Messi to PSG deal became one Barcelona fans couldn’t keep pretending wasn’t happening (even after L’Equipe broke the news).pic.twitter.com/JJS2JPMUcn
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) August 10, 2021
The financial disaster at Barcelona has forced Messi to seek a new home, and he has joined up with old friend Neymar on a stacked PSG side that was already considered a strong Champions League favorite even before the best player in the world joined the party.
Now, with Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe (and Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, etc., etc.) PSG has the look of a team that could dominate Europe, at least for how long PSG can keep the dream team together.
Messi’s PSG move is a blockbuster that has some purists disgusted at the state of the game, while many casual fans are excited about the potential magic they could be treated to by one of the most impressive collections of talent the soccer world has ever seen assembled.
Meanwhile, Barcelona is left to pick up the pieces, with its fans waking up to a new reality that consists of the lack lacking a true superstar for the first time in two decades. Ansu Fati could still be special when he finally returns to full health, and Pedri is emerging as potential legitimate heir to the midfield throne left vacant since Xavi and Iniesta left, but the upcoming season feels like it will be a futile march through mediocrity, at least by Barcelona’s lofty standards, as the club tries to repair its financial devastation.
Now the pressure will be on Messi and PSG to live up to the expectation of winning every single trophy on offer, and as much as the idea of a super team isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, having a team for fans around the world to either root for, or against, will make things interesting.
PSG still has to come together as a team, and Mauricio Pochettino must make all the pieces fit while fellow European giants such as Manchester City, Chelsea and Bayern Munich prepare to take aim at what looks to be an unstoppable force.
Of course, we have seen star-studded teams built before, and it didn’t always guarantee success, but what is clear is that PSG will be must-see TV this season, as Messi chases trophies in a new uniform, playing alongside his old friend Neymar, while Barcelona fans pray to the soccer gods for a new star to emerge to fill the Grand Canyon-sized void left by Messi’s departure.
What do you think of Messi’s move to PSG? Love it? Hate it? Wish there was a way for him to stay at Barcelona? Excited to see what a Messi-Neymar-Mbappe trio can do?
Share your thoughts below.