A sensational report claims that a Barcelona presidential candidate plans to keep Lionel Messi at the club by:
- Buying an MLS franchise
- Giving Lionel Messi a share in it
- Signing Messi and Luis Suarez
And you thought, “No new taxes” was an ambitious campaign promise.
There are a lot of red flags here, not the least of which is the alleged cash-poor status of Barcelona as well as the status of Xavi Vilajoana as a candidate to replace resigned Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Messi has said he wants to play in MLS and live in the States one day, and Messi and Suarez playing for David Beckham’s Inter Miami has been mooted in the press.
City Football Group, which owns NYCFC and Manchester City, had reportedly offered Messi a five-year $830 million deal in August which would include playing time for both squads and an investment stake in the company.
Barcelona’s lack of activity in the transfer market and its corresponding release of Luis Suarez were down to a painful financial situation at the club, an issue so sensitive that Messi’s rumored exit was considered to have the silver lining of eliminating his massive salary.
The Carolina franchise’s expansion fee was $325 million, so we imagine the next asking price is upwards of $350M.
We’re not sure where Messi prefers to go in MLS, but the highest-profile teams are owned by parties we don’t expect to sell their rights. NYCFC is part of City Football Group, which owns Man City amongst others, while David Beckham holds Inter Miami.
New York Red Bulls are owned by Red Bull, while LAFC is a new and active group recently valued at a record $700 million and the LA Galaxy have long been owned by the Anschutz Entertainment Group. Toronto FC is owned by MLSE.
That’s not to say Messi wouldn’t want to live in Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago, or even Nashville. Maybe he’s a huge fan of Carrie Underwood.