- Lionel Messi is expected to sign with Paris Saint-Germain following his departure from Barcelona.
- Messi has said that ‘he didn’t want to leave’ the Spanish La Liga side but league salary cap rules prevented a contract from being signed.
- Messi is reportedly mulling over terms of his contract with PSG though a deal is expected to be finalized soon.
UPDATE: Early Tuesday morning US time and a slew of international media sources including the BBC are reporting that Messi is en route to Paris to finalize the deal with PSG. Word is that Barcelona made a last ditch effort to retain Messi but to no avail. If everything gets finalized quickly he could debut with PSG at home against Strasbourg on Saturday. Messi is rumored to have also received offers from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
The shocking and strange saga of Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona continues to play out. Messi’s next move hasn’t been finalized yet–publicly or privately–but reports suggest that he’s agreed in principal to sign with French Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). The reason that there’s still any drama remaining in the story is that Messi is still in Spain and isn’t expected to travel to Paris until he’s ready to sign a contract. Some reports are suggesting that Messi will travel to Paris early Tuesday to complete a medical evaluation with a formal ‘unveiling’ by Mauricio Pochettino’s team coming within the subsequent 24 hours.
The European media is all over this story–literally. They’re camped out at Messi’s house, the Barcelona airport, the Paris airport and for good measure the homes of several of the player’s family and teammates. For something that is a fait accompli the situation is surprisingly fluid. There are some media sources suggesting that Messi has been speaking with Barcelona representatives even as Jorge Messi (Lionel’s dad) and lawyers are still working on the PSG contractual paperwork. The ‘Messi and Barca’ still talking’ reports could be false, they could be over some issue related to Messi’s separation from the team or the situation could be about to take another dramatic ‘U-turn’. As of 12 midnight EDT/9 PM PDT Messi is still at home and nothing in the way of public facing activity in Paris has been planned.
It’s a wild scene in Paris as the media and PGS fans are waiting Parc des Princes stadium to welcome Messi–whenever he shows up:
At the farewell news conference in Barcelona on Sunday, Messi did not confirm his plans to go to PSG though did allow that several teams had shown interest. A ton of media sources all over the world are reporting that Messi will sign with PSG on a 2 year deal. The terms of the contract and timeline of the PSG negotiations were reported by CBS Sportsline:
That same Thursday night, Leonardo, along with club chairman and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, directly began to prepare and drafting a contract in verbal form that eventually convinced Messi. The proposed contract details: An agreement until June 30, 2023, with the option to extend his salary of €25 million ($29.4 million) net per season, plus add-ons up to a maximum of €35 million ($41.2 million) for each season until 2024.
The soccer betting marketplace is sending mixed signals on the situation. Immediately after the news broke that Messi would leave Barcelona a ‘next team’ prop bet was posted at BetOnline.ag.
LIONEL MESSI NEXT TEAM
Manchester City +550
Any MLS club +1000
Inter Milan +1000
Newells Old Boys +1600
Manchester United +1800
Bayern Munich +3300
As we noted at the time, implied probability at -250 is a whopping 71.4%. Most US facing books are no longer taking wagers on Messi’s next team. In addition, the 2021-2022 Champions League futures have been updated. Here’s the top teams in that market from BetOnline.ag:
PSG +300 Manchester City +350 Bayern Munich +650 Chelsea +750 Liverpool +800 Manchester United +1200 Real Madrid +1600 Barcelona +2000 Juventus +2000
In Europe, however, many of the top sportsbooks are still taking action on the ‘Messi next team’ prop including SkyBet, PaddyPower, 888Sport, Unibet and Betfair. PSG is still an overwhelming favorite with prices as high as -3335 (Unibet) and -3300 (888Sport). These prices indicate an implied probability in excess of 97%. Until there’s more indication that the ‘t’s have been dotted and i’s crossed’ on the PSG deal the best price in these markets could be a decent value. Messi to return to Barcelona is +1100 at Unibet which implies an 8.3% chance. I’d have to think that there’s a better chance than that–even if we’re talking a 10% probability that’s still an overlay. The famous Yogi Berra quip ‘it ain’t over til it’s over’ definitely applies here.