It seems Lionel Messi isn’t leaving Barcelona. Besides the fact that he stated as much after signing a contract extension the other day.
“I want to spend all my career here, in Barcelona, if it’s possible. I would love to finish at Barcelona. This contract is a result of everything that happened last year and of what I have done since coming into the first team. I am simply one more person in this spectacular group of players, where there is a team that is very nice, very united and in which I am simply part of continuing to win things.”
I think it’s great he wants to play his entire career in one place. If only every professional athlete were so loyal. Then again, it’s easy to be loyal when your contract is through 2016 and probably pays you more money then you know what to do with.
The financials we do know tell us that his buyout clause is for 250 million Euros. I did the math this morning and with current exchange rates his buyout is: $367,782,272.89. I think that’s Barca’s way of saying he isn’t going anywhere.
Since winning the European Championship last year I think it wise to go ahead and sign your best player (and one of the best players in the world) through eternity. However, Valencia is already having financial troubles and one might worry that Barcelona may be going down the same road. I’m not an accountant and I don’t know the ins and outs of the Barca’s books, but I’m just saying…the big money might get in the way.
I can hear the chorus already “But you said Real Madrid was stupid to spend so much money on big players!” You’re right. The operative word there is playerssssss. Barcelona took on one big namer and a “bignamer-type contract.” A successful team will be able to make money easily but when your clear leader is the clear leader all the way around that doesn’t hurt.
Now the questions is still the same for Messi. How is he going to respond in the locker room? He can be chummy and everyone can like him and they can be all happy-go-lucky…or…he can go ahead and put his foot down. “I’m the man here, do what I want, play the game my way or die trying your way.”
It was cute of him to act like he’s only one piece of the puzzle, but we all know better.
When someone has a 250 million Euro buyout clause you also figure that that player has influence in the front office. I don’t expect Messi to be any different. If he doesn’t go the route of fear and make sure everyone knows who’s in charge things might go awry. If he tries to be all nice and chummy but all the players on the team know he’s got “hand” in the front office then many of them are likely to lose some respect for him. That doesn’t mean they won’t play hard, but chemistry means so much in professional team sports that it will hurt one way or another.
I fully anticipate Lionel to grow into his role. This won’t be Barca’s best season, but he will learn quickly how to run this team from the front and in doing so will make Barca a power until at least 2016.