Home Sports Lionel Messi joins Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona

Lionel Messi joins Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona

by centra
Lionel Messi signs his two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi

Lionel Messi signs two-year deal – with option for a third – worth £25m per year after tax; the 34-year-old was set to sign a new five-year contract at Barcelona but arrived in Paris on Tuesday to complete PSG deal; Messi: “Everything about the club matches my football ambitions”

Lionel Messi has completed his move to Paris Saint-Germain after signing a two-year contract.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived in Paris on Tuesday afternoon to complete a medical and seal his move to the French club on a two-year deal – with an option for a third – worth £25m per year after tax, plus bonuses.

Messi will receive a £25m signing-on fee as part of the move and will wear the No 30 shirt for PSG, which was the number he wore on his Barcelona debut in 2003.

The 34-year-old was set to extend his 21-year stay at Barcelona by signing a new five-year deal this summer, but the club announced on Thursday that “financial and structural obstacles” meant the contract could not be fulfilled.

On signing for PSG, Messi 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. 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.”

PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi added: “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 will give his first press conference as a PSG player at 10am (BST) on Wednesday at the Parc des Princes.

He had said he wanted to stay at Barcelona and “did everything” he could to remain at the club, including agreeing to a 50-per-cent wage cut.

However, Barcelona are hamstrung by La Liga’s rules on club spending and even halving Messi’s pay was not enough to ensure he remained at the Nou Camp.

Messi had two other options after leaving Barcelona last week but has now joined PSG, with their potential to compete for major trophies – including the Champions League – understood to be a key factor in his decision to move to France.

Messi is also believed to have been keen to reunite with Neymar, with whom he won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys and the Champions League during their time together at Barcelona.

Workers in Barcelona remove a huge image of their former player Lionel Messi from the side of the Nou Camp.
Image:Workers in Barcelona remove a huge image of their former player Lionel Messi from the side of the Nou Camp

Tearful Messi bids Barca farewell

Messi said he did not want to leave Barcelona in an emotional farewell news conference on Sunday.

Messi was in tears as he received a standing ovation in his final Barcelona press conference to announce the end of his 21 years with the club.

Barcelona confirmed Messi’s departure on Thursday night, the same day he returned to Catalonia following his post-Copa America holiday.

Messi had travelled to Barcelona expecting to agree on the details of the announcement of his new five-year deal, and he confirmed he offered to reduce his wages by 50 per cent.

“This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay at home, that’s what we all wanted more than anything,” said Messi.

“We’d always made this our own, we were at home. We thought we would be staying here in Barcelona. But today, we have to say goodbye to all of this.”

‘PSG are now the glamour club’

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol on The Transfer Show:

“I think PSG are now the most glamorous club in the world. They have Messi, Neymar, Mbappe and also the finances they have in place. Effectively, we’re seeing the Spanish and Italian clubs being left behind and some English clubs.

“In this new football eco-system, what you need to thrive and be the biggest and the best is to be effectively owned and backed by a state – that’s what Man City and PSG have.

“Spanish football has big problems, Real Madrid and Barcelona have massive debts and now we’ve seen PSG say ‘we are going to be the club of the Galacticos’.

“From Messi’s point of view, this has come at a fantastic time for him. I know it’s a wrench leaving Barcelona and he is probably going to earn less money in Paris, but I think he needed a chance and so did Barcelona.

“They couldn’t keep paying Messi what they were paying him. He’s got a new challenge, it’s a whole new world of opportunities, most of which will be backed by the Qatari state.

“He’s going to win lots of trophies, his image is going to become even bigger. Next year is the World Cup in Qatar and he is going to be one of the faces of the tournament. For the rest of his life, he’s going to have a very lucrative relationship with Qatar.

“I’m sure the people of Paris will love him and he’ll enjoy living and working in France. I just worry about some of the other clubs in France, but overall for the whole profile of French football, it raises it to another level.”

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

You can follow all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms, as well as keeping track of all the developments on Sky Sports News.

Football’s Cult Heroes is a brand new podcast series exploring the stories of the players that carried their clubs on their backs – on and off the pitch.

Told by the players, fans and journalists that were there, we delve into why these players created such a strong bond with their fans and how they are still remembered years on. @skysports

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