Messi starts new career with PSG
Following days of speculations on what next for Lionel Messi after Barcelona exit, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is set for a new football career with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after he signed a two-year deal.
PSG confirmed the move in a statement saying that the 34-year-old Messi had signed a deal through 2023 with an option for a third season.
“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain,” Messi said.
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“Everything about the club matches my football ambitions. I know how talented the squad and the coaching staff are here. 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.”
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Messi, a record goalscorer for both Argentina and Barcelona is considered one of the greatest football players of all time wept on Sunday as he bade farewell to Barcelona after the Catalan club said it could no longer afford to keep him, blaming LaLiga’s salary rules, even as Messi had agreed to 50 per cent salary cut.
“I don’t know what to say,” Messi told the press conference on Sunday.
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Messi won 35 trophies at Barcelona which includes four Champions League trophy and 10 LaLiga titles after joining the club at age 13.
Messi’s arrival will boost PSG’s ambitions to win their first Champions League trophy and reclaim the Ligue 1 title they lost last season to Lille.
PSG front line is already formidable, with Messi’s former Barca teammate Neymar and young France striker Kylian Mbappé seen as two of the best players on the planet.
PSG have already added veteran Spanish defender Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid and Italy’s goalkeeper Donnarumma, one of the stars of Euro 2020, to their rich squad this summer.
PSG have also signed Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, snatching the Dutchman from under the noses of Barcelona, and spent €60 million on Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi, who scored on his PSG league debut at the weekend.
PSG did not disclose Messi’s salary details, but a close source told AP that Messi is set to earn around €35 million ($41 million) net pay annually.
Messi, Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer with 682 in 17 years in the first team, started his career at Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario, Argentina. Messi won the Ballon d’Or a record six times and lifted 35 trophies with Barcelona.
Messi could make his debut on Saturday when PSG host Strasbourg at Le Parc des Princes stadium of almost 48,000 fans for the first time since the covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
Messi will link up with former teammate Neymar, and other notable stars in PSG like: French forward Kylian Mbappe, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Spain center-back Sergio Ramos.
PSG will hold a press conference on Wednesday to officially unveil Messi as the latest signing for the club.