Lionel Messi will be formally presented as a Paris St Germain player later on Wednesday as he opens a new chapter in his illustrious career.
On Tuesday, the Ligue 1 club announced a press conference for 10am BST and while they did not disclose the identity of those who would be present, events later in the day ensured there was little mystery over what lies ahead.
PSG finally confirmed at around 9.20pm that 34-year-old Messi had signed a two-year deal with the option of a third five days after Barcelona had sent shock waves through world football by announcing that his 21-year stay at the Nou Camp was over, and the Argentina international arrived determined to make his mark all over again.
He said: “I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain. Everything about the club matches my football ambitions. I know how talented the squad and the coaching staff are here.
🛫 𝗣𝗔𝗥𝗜𝗦 🛬— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 10, 2021
“I am determined to help build something special for the club and the fans, and I am looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch at the Parc des Princes.”
The capture of a man who scored 672 goals in 778 appearances for Barca is the latest and most impressive piece of a jigsaw the Qatar Sports Investments-backed club hopes will bring them the Champions League glory they crave, and delighted fans who gathered at the stadium to welcome their new acquisition, who will wear the number 30 shirt.
He joins fellow free agents Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum in heading for Paris this summer to bolster a squad led by Mauricio Pochettino and already featuring household names Neymar, a former team-mate of Messi at the Nou Camp, and Kylian Mbappe.
PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: “I am delighted that Lionel Messi has chosen to join Paris Saint-Germain and we are proud to welcome him and his family to Paris.
“He has made no secret of his desire to continue competing at the very highest level and winning trophies, and naturally our ambition as a club is to do the same.
“The addition of Leo to our world-class squad continues a very strategic and successful transfer window for the club. Led by our outstanding coach and his staff, I look forward to the team making history together for our fans all around the world.”
Messi, who joined Barca as a 13-year-old, left the Catalan club after the two parties had to admit defeat in their efforts to agree on a contract which met the requirements of LaLiga’s financial regulations despite the player’s offer to take a 50 per cent wage cut.
His move to France, however, has proved extremely lucrative with some reports suggesting he will earn 35million Euros – around £29.7million – a year.
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