What happens when the best soccer player in the world wants to leave the only professional team he has ever played for? In August 2020, Lionel Messi informed Barcelona that he wants to quit FC Barcelona. The Argentinean forward has made his Barcelona debut in 2003 and cost less than €3 million. Since then Lionel Messi’s market value kept increasing. The six time Ballon d’Or winner has reached a transfer value of a whopping €180 million in May 2018, according to transfermarkt. But since then his transfer value has been dropping significantly.
What determines the market value of a football player?
According to KPMG Football Benchmark, there are various criteria that affect a player’s market value. Those are:
|1. Player’s playing position (i.e. goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, forward);|
|2. Age and nationality;|
|3. Contract: assessment of a player’s contractual situation with his current club;|
|4. Individual sports performance: assessment of the player’s on-pitch performance (e.g. goals, assists, minutes played, dribbles, tackles);|
|5. Disciplinary actions (i.e. number of fouls, number of red and yellow cards);|
|6. Assessment of the player’s performance with his national team (e.g. number of international matches, international goals);|
|7. Assessment of the player’s media and commercial potential (if significant);|
|8. Team performance and characteristics: sporting results, league competitiveness, economic and financial aspects of the club, etc.;|
|9. Team dependence: evaluation of the importance of a given player in his playing team;|
|10. Timing of player’s transfer and economic profiles of potential recruiting and selling clubs.|
Why has Messi’s market value been declining?
If you take a look at the aforementioned criteria, you’ll realize that most haven’t really changed over the past 1-2 years? So why has Messi’s market value declining by €80 million since then? On the 24th of June, 2020 Lionel Messi turned 33. If you look at the above picture which lists the top 10 soccer players by market value, you’ll find that Lionel Messi is by far the oldest. As pointed out earlier, age is a critical factor that impacts a player’s market value. It has certainly contributed to the decline in Messi’s market value which has reached €100 million as of October 2020. The Egyptian star Mohammed Salah has topped the market value of Messi.
Buyout clause: Euro 700 million
All soccer contracts in Spain are legally obligated to have a mandatory ‘release clause’. This is a number that, if another team is willing to pay, forces the team to accept. This happened to Barcelona in the summer of 2017 when Paris Saint-Germain stunned the Catalonian club with a check for €222 million and Barcelona’s second best player, Neymar. Messi’s release clause is a whopping €700 million. Any transfer fee paid for Messi will, however, likely be significantly lower. Christiano Ronaldo had a release clause of €1 billion but was transferred for only $117 million, to Juventus.