Changing China

Giant on the move

Argentina could pay high price for Messi deal

August 10, 2008

MessiArgentina could yet pay a heavy price for the deal which has allowed Lionel Messi to play at the Olympic Games.

A lengthy tug-of-war with Barcelona for Messi’s services ended with the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that Barcelona were not obliged to release him for the Olympics.

However, with Messi already in China and having made it clear his heart was in the Olympics, Barcelona relented and said he could play — provided certain conditions were met.

One was that the Argentina Football Association (AFA) would effectively pay Messi’s wages while he is in China — costly but not unaffordable.

Another was that Argentina would not pick Messi for any friendly internationals in the next year, and that is where the AFA’s coffers could be hit hard.

The arrangement of friendly matches is one of the sport’s most lucrative growth industries.

The likes of Brazil and Argentina are paid handsomely for taking their national teams overseas but the entrepreneurs who arrange the games usually demand the presence of all the top players before they cough up.

Argentina may have plenty of other exciting players such as Carlos Tevez, Juan Roman Riquelme, Sergio Aguero and Fernando Gago, but Messi is the one the fans really want to see.

Without him, Argentina’s appearance fee will likely suffer a considerable knockdown.

Still, at least his presence is working for the team on the pitch. He was the driving force again on Sunday as Argentina beat Australia 1-0 to seal their place in the quarter-finals.

PHOTO: Messi pictured during Argentina’s Group A match against Australia at the Olympic Games in Shanghai, August 10, 2008. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci


If Messi scores the winning goal in the final I imagine they’ll think it was worth just about any price. Good point, though. Barcelona had their bargaining position strengthened by the CAS decision, which was obviously the point of the exercise. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has such fond memories of his own Olympic experience in 1992 I don’t think there was ever much chance that he would insist on messi coming home.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

I like this guys hair and overall appearance, I’m going for argentina.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

Nick, Great comment and overall observation. I’m still drunk!

Posted by BOB | Report as abusive

Messi is a great player. Not only does he look good on the field, but he is a dominating presence on the pitch.


The soocer is the most wonderfull sport on tho world !!!!!!


Messi is a great player, so there are a lot of fans of his which support him a lot so if he scores a winning goal for the team then it will be worth paying him a high price of money..

Posted by mackanrow | Report as abusive

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