Paris Lionel Messi from Argentina, who had been with Barcelona for 21 years, signed a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain with an option for an additional year. The French club announced Tuesday.
Messi, 34 years old, will be wearing the number 30 when he started his professional career at Barca. PSG will reveal this number at a press event they called for at 11:00 AM (0900 GMT) Wednesday.
He said, “I am excited about beginning a new chapter in my career at Paris Saint-Germain,” in a statement posted on the club’s website.
Messi added, “Everything about this club matches my soccer ambitions.” The PSG supporters welcomed him with a hero’s embrace upon his arrival in Paris on Tuesday.
“I know the talent of the team and the coaching staff.
“I am determined and eager to build something special for the club, the fans, and I look forward to getting out on the Parc des Princes pitch.”
Messi, an unrestricted agent following his shock departure from Barcelona’s boyhood club, arrived at Le Bourget airport in the north of Paris on Tuesday afternoon.
He was met by hundreds of PSG fans who gathered to see their new signing.
These fans also gathered near the Parc des Prince’s club home and near the luxurious hotel in the city, where Messi and Antonella are expected to be staying.
Before he was taken to the hospital, Messi waved at the crowds and wore a Paris shirt.
Jorge Messi, Messi’s father, is also his agent. He had confirmed the inevitable earlier when he arrived at Barcelona’s El Prat airport to board a plane to France.
When reporters asked him if his son would sign with the French club, he answered: “Yes.”
His move is completed after a hectic few days since his announcement last Thursday about his departure from Barcelona, where he had represented for 17 years.
PSG’s move to Messi was a secret for days. However, reports in Spain on Monday night suggested that Barcelona had made a “final deal” to keep the player.
Instead, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner joins a PSG attack already including Neymar Mbappe and Kylian Mobappe.
Qatar-backed PSG sees Messi, the missing piece of their puzzle, as they chase the Champions League trophy.
“Back together,” Neymar posted on Twitter, after playing with Messi at Barcelona and before moving to PSG in 2017.
Getting to terms
Barcelona is still trying to come to terms with the loss of their greatest player. He said goodbye to his club after two decades of service at a sad news conference on Sunday.
The Catalans offered to reduce his salary by half to secure a five-year contract, but the Spanish league salary caps rules thwarted the deal.
Barcelona has debts totalling 1.2 billion euros ($1.41 million) and cannot register any new signings due to their financial situation.
PSG was the only club that could afford to sign a deal for 35 million euros ($41million) per year, with Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City ruled out.
Barcelona’s record-breaking 672 goals in 778 games are his legacy.
After joining Barca at 13 years old, Messi won 35 trophies in Camp Nou. However, his last appearance was a damp duck: a 2-1 defeat against Celta Vigo in May.
His trophy collection includes 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
“It will not be easy to see him wearing another shirt than the one of Barca,” Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Andres Ines Esta, who is currently playing in Japan, said to AFP in an interview Tuesday.
He was a great player. He is the best player I have ever seen, and I doubt I will ever see another like him. Look at his achievements …”
PSG has already signed Sergio Ramos, a veteran Spanish defender from Real Madrid, and Gianluigi Donnarumma (the star of Euro 2020).
They also signed Georginio Wijnaldum, a Liverpool midfielder, and 60 million euros on Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi. He scored his first goal in the PSG league at the weekend.
Messi could be unveiled to supporters on Saturday when PSG host Strasbourg and a full house of nearly 48,000 will be allowed in for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck 18 months ago.
He is not expected to make his debut until the end of this month.