So while the emotional scenes in Catalonia for Lionel Messi’s Barcelona farewell made great TV, beneath the surface it some of it didn’t ring true.
Messi has a reported net worth of £309m and his most recent Barca contract has seen him earn £500,000 a week since 2017. Since the collapse of the proposed European Super League, and the setting up of a La Liga salary cap for the start of this season, cash-strapped Barca now find themselves having to slash their wage bill over night. Apparently it leaves them having to pay out less each week than 75% of the clubs in the Premier League.
It’s wrongfooted them and they have yet to register at least two of their summer signings because they still have to make changes to the previous wage bill.
Messi has enough money, for five lifetimes, let alone one, so if as he stated it was his intention to see out his career at the Nou Camp, why did he not take a leaf out of Tom Brady’s book and register as an amateur, and play for expenses only: the ultimate sporting gesture, from one of the world’s greatest footballers, doing the ‘right thing’ for club and fans?
Or go to Paris and earn an obscene amount of money?
It’s a no-brainer, really...
Away from finance, to a degree, and back to football, the Albion start an unprecedented fifth successive campaign in the top flight with a visit to Burnley. Until recently the Clarets were reportedly the ninth richest club in the world as they were debt free, before a foreign-backed ‘inverted’ takeover which sees them back in debt. But if that gets them embroiled in a relegation battle, then that one less club for the Albion to worry about.
Despite the £50m departure of Ben White I think the Albion could get close to their 13th place finish of 81-82 – but they have to sign a proven striker, as a lack of goals will drag them into a relegation fight. And we need Tariq Lamptey to see an end to his injury problems, as a fit and firing Lamptey would also be pivotal to Albion’s success.