Old Trafford Stadium, inside

Lionel Messi pictured at his PSG debut against Stade de Reims inside the Stade Auguste Delaune on August 29th.

Hersey students are avid supporters of sports, whether it be football, volleyball, or soccer. One of the biggest stories of this summer was 34 year old Argentine, Lionel Messi, leaving his childhood club, FC Barcelona, for Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (PSG). Messi joined Barcelona in 2003 and played for 16 years. Moving from Argentina to Spain at the age of 13, everyone expected Messi to stay at Barcelona for his entire career. However, things took an unexpected turn this year.

In the past years, Barcelona has been underperforming, losing second legs in the Champions League with some notable moments being: Italian team AS Roma FC scoring 3 to come back from a 4-1 loss in the first leg (winning on away goals) in 2018. The next year, Messi spearheaded Barcelona ahead in a promising performance during a 3-0 win against English team Liverpool F.C.. To everyone's surprise Liverpool did the impossible and won 4-0 in the second leg, resulting in one of the greatest upsets in the last few years. And in 2020, Barcelona famously lost 8-2 to German powerhouse FC Bayern Munich .

Due to the declining Barcelona team, Messi, one of the greatest players in soccer history, had an uncertain future. There had always been rumors that he’d leave, but, this time it was the most convincing it had ever been. 

“I heard, [rumors about Messi’s transfer] it had been going on for a few years now. When the transfer finally happened, I was shocked. Messi is my favorite player and this was a really big event because I never thought he would move.” Senior, Samuel Landa said.  

On August 10th, 2021, the unexpected move finally happened. After 16 years at Barcelona, Lionel Messi was no longer a one-club man. 

“I would say this is a pretty big event because this is his childhood club.” Sophomore, Roman Debicki said. 

“This is a huge event because I never thought he would move,” Landa added. After such a legacy at Barcelona, no one could fathom that Messi wouldn’t play for them anymore.

Messi joined a super team in PSG, who are based in Paris. PSG boasts about one of the wealthiest ownerships in the world, Nassar Al-Khelaifi. The 47-year-old Qatari is worth an estimated $8 Billion.

PSG, already one of the best teams in the world, now boast a front line of Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappe, and Lionel Messi, which could be one of the best front three in history. And, of course, not to forget the likes of Sergio Ramos, one of the best defenders in the modern game. 

“Most likely the reason [why Messi left] was they [Barcelona] couldn’t pay him. I also think maybe he wants something fresh and new.” Derbick said. Meanwhile Landa said, “Maybe money, and Messi wants to win the Champions League”

PSG have been the favorites to win the Champions League the last few years, only to fall short in the semi-finals last year and the finals in the 2019-20 season. Going into the 2021-2022 season, PSG looks the most impressive they’ve ever been. 

Lionel Messi is one of the greatest of all time, so is Cristiano Ronaldo. Both have been called the greatest of all time with many fans debating who is better. Messi fans say he is better because he has won the Ballon d’Or (regarded as the most prestigious individual award) six times, while Ronaldo has five. Ronaldo fans claim he is better because Ronaldo has won five Champions Leagues opposed to Messi’s four. In addition, one of Ronaldo fans biggest points is that Messi has never proved himself in multiple leagues and doesn't like to leave his comfort zone. Joining PSG will be one of Messi’s largest tests and could possibly solve the goat debate. 

With this new monstrous team, expectations are the highest they've ever been. Lionel Messi has immense pressure on him to lead this PSG team to European glory, and win the Champions League. Winning would result in a huge possibility of Messi gaining his 7th Ballon d’Or, which would put him two ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. All eyes will be on Messi and PSG this year.