Paris Saint-Germain have once again rocked the world of sport after they confirmed the signing of Lionel Messi.
As bizarre as that may look written down, the deal is complete with the Argentina forward signing a two-year deal following his Barcelona departure.
Barca announced last Thursday that their dire financial situation meant they could not bring their greatest ever player back under LaLiga’s salary restrictions after his previous contract expired in June. He had spent his entire career at Camp Nou.
But the Parc des Princes now beckons and he will form probably the most-feared front three in world football alongside Kylian Mbappe and his old friend Neymar.
It’s with the Brazilian where Stats Perform starts in this look at a selection of other sporting deals that shocked the world.
Neymar: Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, 2017
The Brazilian had formed a potent attacking trio with Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou but a move to PSG was inevitable when the French side met his world-record buyout clause of €222million. He has played an important role in their continued dominance of French domestic football but has so far been unable to guide them to Champions League glory. He was reduced to tears by his side’s 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the 2020 final and then failed to inspire the team in the 2021 semis as Manchester City knocked them out. But maybe Messi will be the final piece of the puzzle…
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) August 3, 2017
LeBron James: Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami Heat, 2010
Basketball icon James announced he would sign with the Miami Heat instead of returning to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a six-time All-Star, James added to the spectacle of the stunning move by announcing it on a special television broadcast called The Decision. He enjoyed four years in Miami, where he won a pair of NBA titles, before returning to the Cavaliers in 2014.
Tom Brady: New England Patriots to Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2020
Few people expected Brady to leave the Patriots after 20 years and six Super Bowl victories. Not only did one of the game’s greatest ever quarterbacks leave, but he joined one of the least successful franchises in NFL history and instantly guided them to glory, leading the Buccaneers to the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy with a 31-9 triumph over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
Tom Brady is officially a Tampa Bay Buccaneer!
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) March 20, 2020
Luis Figo: Barcelona to Real Madrid, 2000
Should Messi ever return to Camp Nou as an opposition player it is unlikely he will be on the receiving end of the kind of abuse that greeted Figo. Barca fans threw bottles, lighters and even a pig’s head at the Portuguese star when he went back to Camp Nou with Los Blancos in the seasons following his controversial move.
Wayne Gretzky: Edmonton Oilers to Los Angeles Kings, 1988
In 1988, the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings agreed a deal that shook the NHL to its core. The trade left Canada in disbelief, with a member of the country’s parliament even proposing the federal government block the trade or buy Gretzky’s contract and sell it to another Canadian team. “The Great One” would go on to enjoy eight successful years in Los Angeles before spells with St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers.