French football club Paris Saint-Germain just took a big step closer to achieving its dream: flat-out buying its first European title through another huge-salaried player to its star-bloated roster. And to celebrate the budget-busting arrival of Argentine soccer legend Lionel Messi, the club could think of no better manner than recreating a blah version of a rival club’s spectacular single-shot video drone flight through its stadium.
Paris Saint-Germain adds Messi to its roster of soccer millionaires, celebrates with cheapo stadium drone video
PSG is a club only George Steinbrenner could love (though it’s probably a favorite of Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg as well). In the last decade of expensive player acquisition, it has inflated a once modest budget into one of the highest payrolls in Europe. Still, the team has somehow failed to attain the goal of that roster doping effort by winning a Champions League crown. Now, with the signing of ex-Barcelona star Messi – one of the greatest players of all time – PSG thinks it can claim that title through pure financial will.
So to celebrate Tuesday’s arrival of Messi, the soccer club released a nervy drone video featuring a fly-through of its merchandize shop (a rather revealing venue to feature first), stadium, and pitch – where its newest millionaire awaits at the center spot wearing a PSG uniform.
Any confusion viewers may have at thinking they’ve already seen PSG’s somewhat uninspired video is understandable. Another unintentionally telling aspect of it is its similarity to the far more visually impressive film released by Manchester City in May to fete its 2021 English league title. A comparison of the two will quickly reveal which club has the more creative video conceptualizers (and talented drone pilots). PSG does get some credit for the furtive outside Paris views (as well as demerits for those including images of the team’s world champion ugly stadium).
Money can’t buy love, but PSG hopes it can purchase a European title
In a European football world where many clubs are over a century old, the 1970-founded PSG is a virtual startup – albeit without the attendant success of those quickly scaling enterprises are famous for.
A mediocre team boasting a handful of French titles during most of its existence, PSG was bought in 2011 by Qatar Sports Investments, whose de facto owner is Qatari ruler and probable trillionaire Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Since then, PSG has bought every star from around the world it could lure, quickly bloating its annual payroll to the current $427.3 million level. By welcoming Messi and his estimated $74.5 million yearly take of that, PSG officials hope they can finally break the club’s habit of coming up short in late stages of Champions League play.
Will it work? For a clue, it may be worth looking at the same team PSG ripped off its (lame) celebratory stadium drone video idea from.
History suggests it can’t (at least in sports)
Man City is owned by Qatari billionaire Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, CEO of the Al Jazeera TV group (which is widely considered a state asset and media platform, ergo bottomless of pocket). Since he took over in 2010, bin Zayed Al Nahyan has also injected hundreds of millions of dollars into the club, primarily through expensive player signings. That allows Man City’s budget to rival PSG’s for soccer’s global top spot – as well as the Parisians’ record of failing to bring Europe’s top prize home despite its spending. Just last May Man City was again denied, losing the Champions League final to English rival Chelsea (whose own billionaire oligarch owner is – just for a little variety – Russian).
Can money finally prove decisive for any club? It sure helped the New York Yankees dominate in the 1970s and 1980s, though that same strategy hasn’t worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past two decade (last year’s COVID-19-mutilated season being the asterisk-requiring exception). Meanwhile, the entire reason Messi was forced to leave his beloved Barcelona team – his footballing home for over two decades – was it had racked up so much debt recruiting star players who couldn’t produce titles that European rules blocked its spending. Messi’s jump from that pan could feasibly land him in Paris’s own financial fire.
Should PSG’s latest expensive effort to recreate an overpowering Murderers’ Row champion fail again this time, it may have no other option left than asking Bezos or Zuckerberg to take over.
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