The dust is still settling after the news broke that Lionel Messi wasn’t going to continue at Barcelona next season.
All those connected with the club have been through a raft of emotions in the last couple of days. They’ve not just lost the most important player in Barcelona‘s history, but also a huge name that brings so much into the club.
Messi‘s contributions on the park are obvious, but what he brought to Barcelona commercially was also vitally important and well as the emotional connection the supporters had with him.
The consequences of losing Messi reach much further than goals, assists and trophies. The Catalan giants will now have to plan for a future both on and off the pitch without their Argentine magician.
The sporting side
The impact that Messi has had on Barcelona over the 17 seasons he’s played there is nothing short of incredible. He’s the club’s top scorer, top appearance maker, most decorated player, and has won the most matches of anyone in Barcelona‘s history.
In 778 matches he scored 671 goals and provided 305 assists which helped his side win 35 titles, including four Champions Leagues, 10 LaLiga titles and three Club World Cups.
He’s been the most important player in this side for nearly two decades, breaking all records, and in eight of his seasons he’s finished as the top goal scorer in Spain. Who can step in and even come close to reproducing statistics like he has?
The economic side
Joan Laporta admitted that Messi generated a third of Barcelona‘s total income. His presence in the team brought in money in various ways: sponsorships, shirt sales – eight of every 10 shirts sold were Messi shirts – and ticket sales. Simply put, Barcelona simply aren’t as profitable without Messi.
Estimations state that they made around 250-300 million euros a year thanks to the Argentine forward. This money is now gone, and at a difficult time financially for the club. It won’t be easy to replace this kind of revenue.
The emotional side
Messi has been the club’s most important figure for a long time. It’s not just the fact that he’s also one of the best players of all time, but also his humbleness, reserved nature and quiet private life which has won over the Barcelona fans.
He’s a role model both on and off the pitch, especially for younger supporters. He’s a family man with good morals and principles. Barcelona have fans not just in Spain, but all over the world, due to Messi. However, many now may decide to stop supporting the club after his exit.
The institutional side
The Barcelona brand has become synonymous with Messi over the last 17 years. When you talk about Barcelona, you talk about Messi.
The club as well as the city are both now directly linked with his image. The Argentine’s time in Spain has seen the institution of Barcelona grow immensely, and that time has sadly now come to an end.