Lionel Messi lastly signed his eagerly anticipated Paris Saint-Germain contract on Tuesday evening to finish the transfer that confirms the tip of a career-long affiliation with Barcelona and sends PSG into a brand new period.
The French membership stated in a press release that the 34-year-old Argentina star signed a two-year cope with the choice for a 3rd season.
“I’m excited to start a brand new chapter of my profession at Paris Saint-Germain,” Messi stated. “All the pieces in regards to the membership matches my soccer ambitions. I understand how gifted the squad and the teaching workers are right here. I’m decided to assist construct one thing particular for the membership and the followers, and I’m trying ahead to stepping out onto the pitch on the Parc des Princes.”
No wage particulars got, however an individual with information of the negotiations earlier informed The Related Press that Messi is about to earn round 35 million euros ($41 million) web yearly. The individual stated on situation of anonymity earlier than the contract was signed.
“I’m delighted that Lionel Messi has chosen to affix Paris Saint-Germain and we’re proud to welcome him and his household to Paris,” PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi stated. “He has made no secret of his want to proceed competing on the very highest stage and profitable trophies, and naturally our ambition as a membership is to do the identical.”
It’s symbolic that Messi will put on the No. 30 jersey — the identical quantity he wore in his first two seasons with Barcelona earlier than switching to No. 19 after which the prized No. 10, which Neymar will get to maintain at PSG.
Throngs of PSG followers gathered at Le Bourget Airport in Paris to welcome Messi, who was sporting a T-shirt that includes “Ici c’est Paris” — “That is Paris.”
The phrases are a long-familiar chorus from a well-liked fan chant at Parc des Princes stadium, the place Messi is to be offered to them earlier than kickoff of Saturday evening’s recreation towards Strasbourg.
Such was the fervor of his arrival that police needed to push again to cease metallic obstacles from toppling over on the airport as followers surged ahead to get a greater view. He then traveled into Paris with a police escort that included a number of officers on motorbikes and clad in black in the back of it.
As disbelief at touchdown one in all soccer’s all-time greats turned to sheer enthusiasm, many gathered for a glimpse of Messi on the stadium. They bought their want because the smiling celebrity briefly waved to them earlier than he underwent a medical examine.
Earlier, Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, had additionally confirmed his son was shifting to PSG in a quick alternate with reporters at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport earlier than he took his flight within the early afternoon.
Messi arrived together with his spouse and three kids and boarded a personal jet.
“With all of it, towards a brand new journey. The 5 collectively,” Antonela Roccuzzo stated on Instagram alongside a photograph along with her husband on the aircraft.
PSG supporters have seen their membership remodeled over the past decade for the reason that inflow of Qatari sovereign wealth funding linked to the emir. As soon as Messi’s Barcelona contract expired — and the Catalan membership was unable to afford to maintain him — PSG was one of many few golf equipment that might finance a deal to signal the six-time world participant of the yr.
Messi’s arrival provides PSG formidable attacking choices as he hyperlinks up with France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe and Brazil ahead Neymar.
“Again collectively,” Neymar posted on Instagram over a video of them hugging, taking part in for Barcelona.
Whereas PSG needed to pay 222 million euros (then $261 million) to signal Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, there was no switch payment for Messi.
Messi grew to become essentially the most desired free agent in soccer historical past after his makes an attempt to remain at Barcelona have been rejected final week by the Spanish league as a result of the wage wouldn’t adjust to monetary rules, with the Catalan membership burdened by money owed of greater than 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion).
PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino shortly made contact together with his fellow Argentine after Barcelona introduced final Thursday that Messi can be leaving the membership he joined as a 13-year-old.
Messi received each main honor with Barcelona and was granted a tearful exit information convention on Sunday to sign the tip of an period. Solely Cristiano Ronaldo within the present period challenges Messi’s standing as an all-time nice.
PSG will likely be hoping not solely that Messi helps the workforce regain the French title it misplaced to Lille final season however lastly win the Champions League.
If Pochettino makes use of a 4-3-3 formation, the entrance three may see Messi deployed on the correct with Neymar on the left and Mbappe between them as the middle ahead.
The quandary for Pochettino can be how one can use Angel Di Maria, whose objective sealed the Copa America title final month, and one other Argentine attacker — Mauro Icardi. It’s a tactical problem most coaches would relish, with a 4-2-3-1 or 3-5-2 additionally within the combine to accommodate the attacking abilities accessible.
What ought to be much less demanding is PSG complying with UEFA’s Monetary Truthful Play. Some flexibility has been offered within the guidelines as a result of pandemic and modifications are as a result of system that have been designed to stem losses. It’s PSG president Al-Khelaifi who, as chairman of the European Membership Affiliation and a member of UEFA’s govt committee, is concerned within the technique of discussing a wider replace to FFP that might enable extra unchecked spending once more.