The biggest transfer of the summer has concluded as Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain confirmed that they had signed Lionel Messi on a two-year contract on a free transfer. Messi had been expected to extend his stay at Barcelona but contract negotiations fell apart, with the club blaming La Liga’s financial restrictions.
By Our Sports Desk
Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the signing of Lionel Messi on a two-year deal, after spending the afternoon trickling out teaser videos on social media.
“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain,” Messi, who will wear the No.30 shirt, told the club’s website.
“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.”
Messi, who arrives just days after his tearful farewell at Barcelona, has the option of a third year in the French capital. His deal is reported to be worth €35 million a year after tax.
PSG chairman 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.”
The news comes after the shock announcement on Friday night that the Argentine forward would not be re-signing with Barcelona after his current deal had expired. Both the Catalan club and their legendary player had anticipated a new contract for between two and five years, but club president Joan Laporta blamed La Liga’s financial restrictions for blocking the deal.
That left PSG as the only club able to afford him after Manchester City, managed by Messi’s former Barca boss Pep Guardiola, had committed to the £100 million signing of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, and chasing Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
Messi reportedly held talks with PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino in the immediate aftermath of his proposed deal collapsing, and the 34-year-old will now play for his compatriot as the French club build what looks to be one of the strongest squads in Europe.
They have already signed Sergio Ramos on a free transfer from Real Madrid, Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool, Gianluigi Donnarumma from AC Milan, and Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan.
The club are attempting to persuade Kylian Mbappe to sign an extension to his deal that runs out next summer, with the striker believed to be keen on a move to Real Madrid. Messi’s arrival will be a huge advantage in their attempt to keep the French international content at the Parc des Princes.
His father Jorge was stopped at the airport earlier on Tuesday and was asked who was to blame for his son leaving Barcelona and Messi Snr replied “ask the club.”
Messi will now join a squad that contains close friend Neymar as well as international team-mate Angel Di Maria.
A press conference has been scheduled for 10am BST on Wednesday.