PSG welcome ‘new diamond in Paris’ as Lionel Messi agrees two-year deal

Argentinian superstar will be paid up to €35m a year and has option of a third year

PSG fans have got a first look at Lionel Messi in Paris, after the Argentina star flew into France to complete his move to the Parisian club. Video: Reuters

 

Lionel Messi will be presented as a Paris Saint-Germain player on Wednesday after signing a two-year contract on Tuesday. The deal includes an option to extend by a year and gives the forward a net salary of about €35 million with bonuses factored in.

Messi flew from Barcelona and was greeted by a PSG tweet that confirmed he was joining and welcomed a “new diamond in Paris”. The 34-year-old waved to crowds of celebrating fans from a window at Le Bourget airport, north of the capital. He had boarded the plane in one T-shirt and emerged at the window in another, with the club’s trademark “Ici c’est Paris” on the front.

Messi, his lawyers and his father, Jorge, had been in talks with PSG since Thursday, when the player’s plan to stay at Barcelona collapsed because of the club’s financial situation. Messi had agreed a five-year contract with Barcelona worth about €20 million a season.

Jorge Messi had confirmed to the Spanish television station La Sexta at Barcelona airport that his son would sign for PSG on Tuesday and was asked whose fault it was that his son was leaving the Camp Nou. “Ask at the club,” he replied. A press conference and presentation is planned for 11am Paris time (10am Irish time) on Wednesday.

The move enables Messi to link up again with Neymar, a former Barcelona team-mate who has been working to convince the Argentinian to join him in Paris, and gives PSG attacking options of Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Angel di Maria.

Workers remove a poster featuring Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou. Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images
Workers remove a poster featuring Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou. Photograph: Pau Barrena/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Neymar posted “Back together” on Instagram above a montage of his and Messi’s best goals and assists from their time together at Barcelona. Messi wept on Sunday at a farewell Barcelona press conference at which he said he had wanted to stay at the club where he has spent his whole career. On Tuesday images of Messi on the Camp Nou facade were taken down.

A statement on PSG’s official Twitter account said: “Paris Saint-Germain is delighted to announce the signing of Leo Messi on a two-year contract with an option of a third year. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is justifiably considered a legend of the game and a true inspiration for those of all ages inside and outside football.

“The signing of Leo reinforces Paris Saint-Germain’s aspirations as well as providing the club’s loyal fans with not only an exceptionally talented squad, but also moments of incredible football in the coming years.”

For PSG, beaten into second place in Ligue 1 by Lille last season and knocked out of the Champions League in the semi-finals by Manchester City, confirmation that Messi has accepted their offer is a major coup.

Mauricio Pochettino, who has spoken to Messi as part of the process, has already had his squad bolstered by the signings of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum. The goalkeeper Donnarumma told Sky Italia regarding Messi: “He is the best player in the world. I am excited and happy at the thought of having him in the team.”

– Guardian

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