The day that many Barcelona fans would have been dreading finally arrived on Sunday, as Lionel Messi officially announced that he would be departing the Nou Camp.
The Argentinean superstar admitted in a press conference at the home of the club that he has called home throughout his career that he never wanted to leave the club this summer, but factors out of his, and Barcelona’s hands meant that a renewal just couldn’t be achieved.
Right now, Messi is definitely the hottest free agent in the market. For NBA fans, to put into perspective, imagine LeBron or Curry would end ties with their respective clubs and be ready to trade clubs with no transfer fees involved (you can catch up on the latest NBA trade rumors for the season 2021/22 here).
Unsurprisingly, there have been a host of clubs linked with a move for Leo Messi, but it almost certainly looks as though Paris will be his home for the next two years.
The deal has already seen PSG’s odds for the Champions League tumble for the 2021-22 season, but is the Messi signing the deal that puts the Parisians on the brink of winning the one piece of silverware that has eluded them?
PSG’s Frightening Attacking Outlet
The Messi deal certainly heightens the excitement of seeing PSG play next season, as they now possess possibly one of the best attacking lines that we have seen in world football. Messi scored 38 goals in all competitions last season, which saw him break the 30-goal barrier for the 13th straight season.
Kylian Mbappe also scored more than 30 goals last season, as he ended the 2020-21 campaign with a staggering 42 goals.
Neymar’s campaign was plagued with injuries, but still managed 17, which was the same tally as Moise Kean. Creativity will not be an issue with Angel Di Maria, also among the attacking options available to Mauricio Pochettino.
Di Maria has recorded 68 assists and 52 goals in 171 games in Ligue 1, but may be forced to take a backseat role following Messi’s arrival. In truth, there is goals and creativity everywhere you look in the PSG forward line, which will ensure that they will be among the most attractive teams in world football to watch in 2021-22.
Messi’s Best Chance Of Champions League Success?
Messi may have made it clear that leaving Barcelona was never his plan this summer, which is the opposite stance from which he took 12 months ago. However, leaving the Nou Camp may be the best way to add to the four Champions Leagues that he has won during his career to this point.
The Argentinean was helpless in the end last season, as Barcelona were dumped out of the Champions League by PSG in the round of 16.
Ultimately, it was the firepower that the French side had in reserve that was decisive, as Barcelona just lacked the tools needed to deal with the pacey Mbappe.
In a strange turn of events, Messi’s final Champions League goal for Barcelona was against his potential new side. But, unlike the increased pressure that he felt in dragging Barcelona through the round in the Champions League, the same won’t be the case with PSG.
The quality that PSG has means that while Messi will be expected to play his part, there are also other stars that could carry their fair share of the weight.
Will PSG Win The Champions League?
The Champions League is the one trophy that is missing from the trophy cabinet, as they were eliminated in the semi-finals last season by Manchester City. However, a summer of strong business means that the squad has been strengthened in the necessary positions.
Sergio Ramos signed from Real Madrid, and adds the leadership that has been evidently missing since Thiago Silva’s departure.
His experience in the Champions League could be integral to their chances. Achrak Hakimi also adds an outlet down the right-hand side, while Georgino Wijnaldum provides extra competition in the middle of the park. PSG were also able to bring in Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was exceptional in goal for Italy throughout the EUROs.
However, only time will tell whether Pochettino can guide this PSG side through the elite club competition, and past opponents such as Manchester City.