Lionel Messi Is Out At FC Barcelona: What Now For La Liga?

by | Aug 12, 2021 | International, La Liga

Spain’s Top Division Will Struggle To Recover From The Loss Of Its Talisman To France

By Jose Angel Solorzano – LA Soccer Press /

After a summer of uncertainty regarding the future of Lionel Messi, his move away from FC Barcelona and La Liga has finally been cemented.

On Thursday, Aug. 5, the Catalan club announced that due to financial problems and La Liga’s salary cap, Messi would not be allowed to return to the club that paid for his hormone treatments as a young child coming from Argentina.

Before his signing was confirmed, rumors about his future ran rampant, including heavy links with some of Europe’s biggest teams. But it the French side Paris Saint-Germain FC that has acquired Messi’s signature.

Though usually quiet and reserved, Messi decided it was time to give his side of the story. On the morning of Aug. 8, the all-time leading scorer and appearance maker for Barcelona broke his silence in a tear-filled press conference with family, teammates, and Barcelona board members in attendance.

Messi, who admitted that this press conference was the most challenging moment of his career, said, “Last year I wanted to leave, but this year I didn’t. I was always completely upfront about everything, and I have to leave the club I love.”

When questions about his future, specifically with PSG, Messi claimed that it was, “a possibility, but nothing is decided yet. I haven’t got anything arranged with anybody. When the announcement was made, I had a lot of phone calls, several clubs were interested. Nothing is decided yet, but we are in talks.”

The president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, was also topic of discussion during the press conference. Tebas, who claims he did everything possible for Messi to stay, chose not to change the rules in order to keep Messi playing in Spain.

Though Tebas claimed back in 2020 that La Liga is prepared for the departure of Messi, it is not hard to contemplate the impact of La Liga losing its poster boy.

Not only is La Liga losing its all-time leading scorer, assist man and hat-trick hero, they also are losing the player who sells the most jerseys. This is nothing to gloss over because it shows that not only is La Liga going to be impacted sporting-wise, they are also due to suffer grave economic loss by losing one of the most popular and beloved players in the world.

Since 2012, PSG has won seven of the last nine league titles, losing out to Monaco in 2016/17 and more recently to Lille in the latest installment of Ligue 1.

Messi may be leaving to a weaker domestic league, but it is no secret that he has moved to what may be one of the best teams ever assembled in order to challenge for the Champions League that has seen him be embarrassed by the likes of Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Roma.

For more than a decade, the rivalry between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo drove La Liga’s viewership and popularity to all-time highs. Though Real Madrid and FC Barcelona were both behemoths in the game before the arrival of the two leading Ballon d’Or winners, the rivalry was taken up a notch and led to the pinnacle of Real Madrid’s, Barcelona’s, and La Liga’s remunerative success.

Lionel Messi’s impact has manifested itself in terms of Instagram followers for Paris Saint-Germain. In the consequent 48 hours after confirming the transfer, more than 5 million new accounts followed the French side on the social media platform. 

Real Madrid is still in the process of rebuilding its three-peat Champions League winning squad. Barcelona just lost their best player ever and is spending more in player salaries than it has in actual revenue. Atletico Madrid, the reigning La Liga champions, has yet to win any European competition. This may be a worrying sign for these three clubs and La Liga, who cannot compete with the wealth of the owners of other European teams or with the television rights revenue that the Premier League brings in.

In his most recent press interview, Messi expressed, “I am very happy. It’s crazy. I’m going to play with the best players in the world, and that’s always good.”

He also admitted that his friend Neymar played a big role in him making the move to Paris Saint Germain. He is “excited to begin a new chapter of his career” and expressed his determination to “build something special for the club and the fans.”

Barcelona has lost Lionel Messi, and La Liga has lost its talisman. How will the league and club that have enjoyed their most significant successes ever recover?

Solorzano is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara. He writes about Spanish futbol for LA Soccer Press.