Messi celebrates the victory against PSG in the quarterfinals of the Champions 2017.SANTI GARCÉS / FC Barcelona
Although it is up to Leo Messi to unravel his future, if he will continue as Barça player or will leave with the freedom letter under his arm in a few months, only a few can knock on your door, perhaps those with elastic checkbooks. But none like PSG, a destination that suits him due to the superiority of the team in an unequal competition now that his career is ending, a club that for a decade has had all colors with Barça, rivals now in the European round of 16 of this Tuesday. And the tension grows. "There are many possibilities that Messi will come to PSG", Di María slipped last week while Koeman exploded: "It seems to me a lack of respect, especially for not heating up the Champions game more." Mauricio Pochettino replied from the other bench: “A teammate said that he would like to play alongside him. From Paris we have not disrespected anyone and many Barça players expressed their desire for Neymar to return and here they never complained ”. Another of the many squabbles between the two entities
When the curtain fell in 2010, Barça sealed a sponsorship agreement with the Qatar Foundation and the state of Qatar, all through Oryx Qatar Sports Investments , owned by the country's emir Hamad Al Zani and company managed by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of PSG . A most lucrative agreement – the Barça club received 171 million – that Barça took advantage of to reinforce its ranks and focused on PSG. It all started in 2013, when the Barça club tempted Thiago Silva, who unchecked asking for Messi's salary but ended up accepting the Parisian renewal offer. But Barça, with serious problems in defense after Puyol's goodbye, returned to the charge the following summer with Marquinhos , who gave his approval for nothing, because Al-Khelaifi gave him an improvement in his contract that over time has valid to settle behind the PSG.
"It is very difficult to negotiate with those who have money because they know they are in a position of strength," says a former club employee who dealt with PSG; "Do not sit down to negotiate." Although at that time they were satisfied with the refusals of Sergi Roberto and, above all, of Busquets to do the opposite way by preferring the Barça shield over Qatari oil. But PSG's anger was on the rise and emerged in 2017, when Barça tried to steal Verratti from the media in a clumsy strategy, as the player posed in Ibiza to slide the negotiations and the Parisian president demanded that he record a video in which he asked Sorry and reaffirmed his willingness to play in Paris, also wrapped in a blanket of banknotes
Neymar, in cash
With the Italian's march deactivated, PSG charged immediately and with everything by Neymar , seduced by capitalizing on a wealthy project before to continue under the shadow of Messi. Decision that he made, precisely, after the memorable match at the Camp Nou in the 2017 Champions League round of 16 against PSG, when Barça came back from a 4-0 against with a resounding 6-1. In that challenge, nobody unbalanced like Neymar, clearly the best. But the merit and especially the covers were taken by Messi when he climbed onto the stadium's billboard with open arms under a cloak of culer adoration. A few months and 222 million later (which was the Brazilian's termination clause), Neymar emigrated to the Eiffel Tower.
Since then, PSG and Barça have not seen each other again, although the historical balance is in Barça's favor; They have been measured in five qualifying rounds and PSG only won the first, then in the quarterfinals of the European Cup in the 95-95 season. Since the tension grew, however, Barça won in the quarterfinals of the 2013 and 2015 Champions League, also in those eighth of 2017.
Piqué accelerates and is already training with the
group The Barcelona defense continues to be caught with tweezers, with Piqué and Araujo pending to enter the call, now that they train with the group. Dest played a few minutes against Alavés after coming out of a muscle injury and points to the right side, where he will not be able to take over from Sergi Roberto, in the infirmary. Mingueza is available and awaits his turn, especially since Umtiti continues without the necessary rhythm. So Alba and Lenglet seem the only safe ones against a rival with dynamite in attack.
Perhaps that is why it annoyed PSG so much that Adrien Rabiot agreed to play for Barça in the summer of 2018, an operation that lasted in time but that ended up deactivating the sheikh. But they were cutting moments, as former president Josep Maria Bartomeu celebrated the UEFA investigation into the Parisian club about the financial Fair-Play at the same time that Al-Khelaifi prohibited the head of statistics for the club's matches from participating in a technological congress held celebrated at the Camp Nou. And so the relationship has continued in these courses, De Jong tempted before by PSG than by Barça, Di María denied until the last day of transfers, unsuccessful negotiations due to lack of understanding and will for the return of Neymar … Until in This summer Barça decided to transfer Rafinha at zero cost to the player – three million in variables and 35% of a future sale -, more as a favor to the footballer than to the club.
Now, without Neymar due to injury but with Messi revitalized and with a smile on the pitch because he likes the Barça dressing room although not the lack of competitiveness at key moments, Barça and PSG are seeing each other again. There are many outstanding accounts in a decade of litigation. And everything is to be decided. Even the future of Leo.