In the world of legends of world football there are quite a few excellent, famous and groundbreaking athletes, only a few of whom manage to become icons who have influenced the entire world and made history. One of them is Lionel Messi, 34, who is considered the most successful and expensive footballer in the world, and one of the symbols of the Spanish football team Barcelona (Barça).
Earlier this week, the footballer held a press conference announcing in tears that he was leaving the team he started playing for as a 13-year-old and where he played throughout his professional career while wearing the No. 10 shirt. Saint-Germain.
Messi has led Barcelona to a string of professional achievements. During his time at Barça, he won ten Spanish championships, seven Spanish King’s Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, four European Champions League titles, three European Super Cups and three World Team Championships.
“In the last few days I have been trying to plan what to say and the truth is I have not been able to think of anything,” Messi said at the press conference. “It’s very difficult after so many years. I’ve been here all my life. I was not ready for it, my family and I were convinced we would stay here, that’s what we wanted most of all. I’m leaving with my wife and our three Catalan-Argentine children. This is our home, we wanted To stay in our house. “
As early as last year, Messi announced his desire to leave Barcelona, and in retrospect it became clear that this was his way of fighting the club’s corrupt management. When the club head was replaced, things seemed to calm down but then the team ran into another problem: a very deep economic crisis. The team’s economic constraints did not allow the team to continue with him and the result – one of the most painful separations in the world of football. And not just because of the loyalty of players to their team, but because it is a departure with economic consequences.
100 million euros a season
“The consequences of Messi’s departure from Barcelona are sporting, but mainly financial for Barcelona’s football club, the city of Barcelona, the region of Catalonia and the Spanish league,” said Tom Rosenwasser, a team member on the Barça Mania Facebook page, a panelist on the Barcelona in Israel podcast and author of the book “From a story – ten tithes”.
“The fact that Messi is the best footballer in the world has allowed Barcelona to reach sponsorship agreements on a scale that will be very difficult for them to recover now. In terms of numbers, his wage cost has been insane. There were years when he earned over 100 million euros gross, The club has more than 200 million euros. The money that Barcelona made from Messi is reflected in receiving sponsorships, collecting increased royalties on the sale of broadcasting rights, merchandising, such as shirts, schoolbags and accessories and of course selling tickets for games. All this because Messi was a center of pilgrimage, Everyone wanted to see him play. “
Of course, in Israel, too, it is an icon, whose image is emblazoned on school bags, pencil cases and more, and of course, it should not be forgotten that Barcelona, before the Corona, was the favorite destination for bar mitzvah trips. “Many Israeli children wanted to fly to see Messi at the Camp Nou football stadium, and not just them. Everyone wanted to visit there to see Messi in action. He is an artistic marvel,” Rosenwasser says.
How will this affect the city of Barcelona now?
“Once Messi is not in Barcelona, people will no longer find a reason to visit the Camp Nou and it will also hurt tourism in the area, causing peripheral damage to Spain. “There will be fewer spectators at the games, fewer viewers of the game broadcasts, fewer sponsors, less merchandising. The economic and prestigious value of the Spanish league has decreased. This is significant damage.”
According to Brand Finance, the world’s leading branding advisory service, Messi’s departure from Barcelona will reduce Barça’s brand value by € 137 million – a loss of € 77 million in business revenue, an additional € 17 million in game-day revenue and € 43 million. A million euros went down the drain in the sale of shirts and souvenirs. This is a painful blow to the group, which has fallen into debt, to which is added the expected loss of 487 million euros due to the corona.
“Messi’s departure would have happened anyway. If not now then in a year or two, so Barcelona should have prepared for it ahead of time in terms of all the factors involved in the management of the team,” said Sharon Davidovich, a broadcaster and presenter at Sport1.
“It will have a huge impact on the Spanish league, because when the biggest player in the world is not found the global interest in it decreases. For several years the league has been emptied of its assets, and Messi was a charcoal keeper. Now that he leaves, it will still remain good and interesting. .
According to Davidovich, Messi’s departure will hurt Barcelona significantly in terms of tourism as well. “He was part of the city’s symbols,” he says. “He had tremendous power in a brand called ‘Barcelona’ and a big economic impact on it. Barcelona is strong, but I’m sure it’s a good few more years before it can recover from his departure. I don’t know if its economic and cultural impact will be the same on Paris when he moves to its football team.” .
Bar Mitzvah trips to Paris
“The economic impact of the departure on Barcelona will be in the immediate term, within a day or two,” claims Roi Tzaig, a broadcaster and sports reporter for Radio South. “This is an immediate loss of merchandise subscriptions and stocks that can no longer be sold. There are a lot of fans associated with the player and not the team, so if he is in Barcelona, they will be Barcelona fans and if he is part of the Paris Saint-Germain team, they will be its fans. “It is important to remember that Barcelona was big before Messi and it will remain big even after it. True, the pit is now big and it will be difficult to fill it, but in five to ten years, when it brings new stars, Barcelona will be able to reach the top again.”
“According to calculations made by several economic newspapers, the damage to Barça following Messi’s departure is expected to reach around 150 million euros,” said Assaf Ackerman, a sports channel commentator. “The value of the team’s value is expected to plummet and the injury at the sporting level could cause an economic pit. If Barcelona fail to reach the Champions League next season due to the departure of their main player, it will be a severe economic injury because it will have difficulty obtaining sponsorships and sponsors.”
“Messi and Ronaldo are the two biggest brands in world sports,” adds commentator Nadav Yaakovi. “In terms of merchandise, Barcelona have made tens of millions and the economic decline is clear, but such things will not happen directly or quickly because the team’s fans will still remain loyal to it, even if the player moves. If they went with Messi’s shirt and he left, the next day they will go with “The shirt of another player from the team. The ‘hitchhiking’ fans Barcelona will lose, and it is also an economic loss. I estimate that following his departure there will be a decrease of 02% – 30% in the team’s revenue in the coming year.”
Among all the voices praising Barcelona’s bank account, there are those who think the change will not be so dramatic. One of them is the scout and international players’ agent Asher Hershkovitz. “Most of the revenue from the merchandise and playing cards is from the Barcelona brand and not from Messi,” he explains. “Messi is not strong from the brand. So there will be a slight drop for promotion, but I do not think sponsors will cancel contracts with Barcelona because Messi is gone. The team will not fall apart. For a long time Messi, with all due respect, is not the same player we know who rose brilliantly. “He is no longer at his peak and playing more from behind. If he fails to bring titles to Paris Saint-Germain, everyone will say it is not a very big loss, and it can only help Barça financially and sportingly.”
“Paris Saint-Germain has made a crazy economic move. Its brand value will be monstrous,” Ackerman says. “There is no doubt that the sponsors will fly on it now. This is not a team that lacks money but Messi is a magnet for big sponsors and that will only strengthen the French Empire, which also has Neymar and Killian Ambape who are huge stars.”
“Now the bar mitzvah trips will be copied to Paris,” Rosenwasser smiles. “The sponsors will flock to Paris and the team will become an economic power, even though it is without Messi. Barcelona had a big club before Messi and will continue to be after it. The team will now enter into an economic rehabilitation process in which it will have to repay the big debts