When you talk about the silly money being thrown around in the modern game of football right now, it doesn’t get any sillier than a report just released by Sports Marketing specialists Eurmericas.
Reportedly, under the direction of three unnamed European clubs, Lionel Messi was valued. Currently at Barcelona, the little Argentinian former World Player of the year and three time Ballon d’Or winner was assessed not only on his value as a player but also on sponsorship earnings and off-field activities. The figure settled on was a whopping $543,920,000.
Is he worth that figure? With the three European clubs having previously shown interest in Lionel Messi being Paris St. Germain in France, Manchester City in England and Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, who exactly could throw that kind of money at him? The answer is potentially all three.
The real question is does Barcelona want to sell, and if Lionel Messi were to leave, where would he want to go? To the first question I think Barcelona have proven, during his time injured, they can certainly cope without him. Also just think what they could do with half a billion dollars, that’s four Gareth Bales or 91 Lee Majors! Either way, that’s a lot of money to turn down, even for arguably your star player.
So assume they take the money and decide to sell him, where would he go? Russia? Not unless he has had a change of heart in the last twelve months. It was widely reported last year that a mega deal, $760k a week, was offered by the Russian side and turned down.
To France and PSG? Maybe. They do have two of his fellow countrymen in Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore, but I think the overriding favorite place for Messi to come is Manchester City. A few seasons ago Messi made public he had no intention of playing in the Premier League, but that stance seems to have softened a little in recent times. His fellow countrymen are flourishing in the League, and Pablo Zabaleta in particular has revealed that Messi often questions him about Premiership life.
Yaya Toure too has called for Messi to come to City, and with Sergio Aguero and Martin Demichelis making up a trio of Argentinians already at the Etihad he certainly wouldn’t have any problems settling in.
No matter what the report says on his value he still has a release clause in his contract which means clubs will have to stump up a little short of $345 million if they wish to trigger it. $39 million a year in wages, taking the Russian side’s offer, and if he signs a five-year deal ($197.6 million) Manchester City will be looking at very close to that figure quoted.
Jason is a soccer writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @PACityboy and Facebook.