Lionel Messi has committed his long-term future to Barcelona in the wake of reported interest from some of Europe’s richest clubs, including Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
As reported by Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Messi has no plans to leave Barcelona. That all but ends interest from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, who were trailing PSG in the race to sign him anyway.
PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi has dedicated considerable resources into his bid to get Messi to join the Ligue 1 club. PSG’s interest was serious last year, to which they were rejected, but they planned another assault in the summer of 2016, which would coincide with the ending of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract.
It was felt that the sale of players like Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani and possibly even Ibrahimovic would have put PSG in a strong enough financial position relative to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules to afford the Argentinian superstar, who reportedly has a €250m buyout clause.
PSG were aware that Messi is friendly with club captain Thiago Silva and was reportedly unhappy at the Nou Camp last season as the club struggled on the pitch and Messi was dogged by controversy, including tax issues, off it.
The report claims he’s much happier now though, with Barcelona on the right track under Luis Enrique.
Like PSG, Chelsea boasted what they hoped was a trump card in Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard is good friends with Messi from their times together in Catalonia, while Messi’s girlfriend, Antonella Roccuzzo, is good pals with Fabregas’s partner Daniella Semaan.
But like Manchester City and Manchester United, both the financial heavyweights look likely to be disappointed if they did indeed harbour serious ambitions to sign the four-time Ballon d’Or winner.