November 17, 2021
General News

Messi saga springs from Barcelona’s grotesque mismanagement | Lionel Messi

Perhaps football has never been about football. Certainly it’s a long time since those who pontificate about the separation of sport and politics have seemed anything other than peripheral cranks (albeit an alarming number of them serve on the IOC or at Westminster). But still, the saga of Lionel Messi’s contract is so profoundly sordid that you wonder whether Ebenezer Morley, if he had known where it would lead, would ever have written the letter to Bell’s Life magazine in 1863 that led to the formation of the Football Association a year later.

Morley’s main concern was to end “feverish” disputes about the laws. That geopolitics, rapacious capitalism and a pandemic might determine the destination of perhaps the greatest player the world has ever known would have seemed like a category error. And yet while wider forces are clearly at play, sympathy for Barcelona must be…

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