The presence of Pochettino and Angel Di Maria, fellow Argentines, also help and as part of their presentation to Messi about joining the club and life in Paris then PSG will have gone into great detail about the city, how he will be accommodated there and even its demographics. For example when they were previously in talks to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, PSG explained to him that Paris had the biggest Portuguese community in Europe and even detailed the best restaurants.
Signing Messi is greater than Ronaldo and not least because unlike him he has not moved around. Messi spent 21 years at Barcelona. He was Barcelona. The sight of him weeping at his farewell press conference on Sunday will be the enduring sports image of 2021.
There will now be two clear plans from PSG for Messi: one on the pitch and one of it. It will be for Pochettino to integrate him into the team and the expectation will grow that the coach has to deliver the Champions League following a summer of remarkable recruitment – Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Gini Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi – at PSG which has been capped by Messi.
Off the pitch and PSG have one of the shrewdest marketing teams, led by Fabien Allegre, the merchandising and brand diversification director, in the world and they will be putting together a strategy on how best to capitalise commercially on having Messi wear their shirt and press home the fact they have signed the world’s greatest player.
Sponsorship deals will increase, for sure, which will help with FFP compliance nd PSG have marketed themselves aggressively and imaginatively around the world backed – of course – by the sovereign wealth of their Qatari owners who will be keen, but also cautious, to explore whether Messi is interested in helping promote their country in the way his former Barcelona team-mate Xavi has done. Qatar hosts next year’s World Cup and having Messi play for PSG gives them added kudos. And so much more.
Financial Fair Play Q&A
By Sam Wallace
Does Uefa financial fair play still exist?
Yes, and it is primarily intended to ensure clubs licensed to play in Uefa competition do not have overdue payments to other clubs or tax authorities but it does limit losses too.
What are those limits?
It’s €5 million beyond what they earn over an assessment period, which spans three financial years.
What has Covid changed given the huge fall in revenue for clubs with fans locked out?
The Uefa executive committee announced in June last year that it was delaying and reorganising those FFP assessment periods over which clubs must demonstrate they have broken even. The financial years of 2020 and 2021 will be assessed as one period.
What does that mean?
Uefa says that the effects of the pandemic will be “neutralised by averaging the combined deficit of 2020 and 2021 and by further allowing specific Covid-19 adjustments”.
Does that also translate as, ‘Uefa is leaving itself plenty of wriggle room’?
This was the architect of FFP, Andrea Traverso, Uefa director of research and financial stability speaking in March. “The break-even rule, the way it works now it looks backwards. It performs an assessment of a situation in the past. The pandemic represents such an abrupt change that looking to the past is becoming purposeless.”
Is that the end for FFP?
Uefa’s battles have become existential in recent months – most notably the Super League breakaway. It is rebuilding relationships with its biggest clubs amid the biggest turmoil, financially and politically, the European post-war game has known. You have to wonder if there is an appetite to ban a big club from Uefa competition when Uefa has only just seen off the threat of the Super League.
What does the Manchester City case say about Uefa FFP?
Defeat for Uefa in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in July last year felt like the end for the first iteration of FFP. Cas found that the allegations against City were not proven or simply time-barred.