If all things go to plan, we will finally see Messi play in the Premier League.
After 16 years at Barcelona, the Argentinean superstar is ready to take his talents to the best football league in the world. Through thick and thin the pair persevered but Barca’s devastating 8-2 loss against Bayern Munich was the last straw. This move still comes as a shock to football fans across the world. Barcelona and Messi go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Well, now it is time for a new chapter in the book of one of the greatest footballers of all-time. Messi is headed to Manchester. Specifically, Manchester City. The Sky Blues somehow improve an already incredibly talented squad.
Messi coming to England isn’t just good for City; it’s good for the Premier League as a whole.
The one consistent knock of the Premier League is the league’s inability to attract fans from other European nations.
DAZN, the network that carries the EPL in Spain, only has 120,000 subscribers in the country and is losing €5 million a month. There is no doubt that the EPL is the most talented league in the world, but for a multitude of reasons European viewership is always low. First of all, the Premier League does not attract young international stars like the other leagues in Europe. Players prefer to stay in their home country for the early stages of their playing career, and then make the jump to the Premier League. Young sensations like Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland develop in other leagues, pulling attention away from the English top flight.
The EPL’s inability to have a flourishing youth system has worked to their detriment. Another reason for low EPL ratings is that the other leagues in Europe are strong enough to where supporting an English club feels unnecessary. Why would an Italian fan of Napoli root for Manchester United when their home team is already very good? Europeans outside of England don’t root for English clubs which overall lowers the enthusiasm for the league.
Messi changes all of this.
Not only is his talent level remarkably high for a 33-year-old striker, but his brand is one of the most recognizable in the world. Ask 100 random people on the street if they know who Messi is, 99 will say yes.
The Premier League has never had a player quite like this.
Ronaldo was only 24 when he left United for Real Madrid. He wasn’t the global superstar that he is today. Messi’s fame is the biggest reason why this move is a massive win for the Premier League as a whole. EPL Chief Executive Richard Masters has been looking for a way to grow his league. He’s got his catalyst now. Spanish fans, even though they may be a little salty about Messi leaving Barca, will watch with earnest to see how he performs.
Fans across Europe will flock to England with the hope of watching the greatest football player ever take a new team to glory. And don’t get me wrong, the critics will be as loud as ever. Many are eager to see Messi play and possibly struggle, in a new league. Nonetheless, critics are viewers too. They’ll help the European ratings just like the average fan and bring even more attention to the league.
Ratings will go up, ticket sales will jump to new heights, and young international talent will want to play alongside the best striker this game has seen.
One player will change the course of English top-flight football for years to come. The Premier League can only grow with Messi in its ranks.
Featured Image: Agence France-Presse