Former Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has agreed to move across Europe to French giants PSG on a free transfer after his exit from Barcelona this past week, ending speculation about his immediate future.
Messi, who left Barcelona after the club revealed to him that they could not afford to offer him a contract, was asked questions about the links to PSG during his farewell press conference on Sunday. The Argentina captain said that he had received lots of offers at the time, but nothing was concrete as of then, and he was still considering the offers on his table. Shortly before his Barcelona exit, Messi was pictured in Ibiza hanging out with PSG stars Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Leandro Paredes and Marco Verratti, raising questions over whether he had decided to join the French outfit before now. When he was asked during his press conference, he simply replied that the PSG quartet had made a couple of jokes about him joining them, but he did not plan to change clubs. Neymar was said to have pushed for a deal for Messi with the club’s president and Sporting director.
Messi would play under compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, who played for Barcelona’s fierce Catalan rivals Espanyol when Messi made his senior debut for the club. Messi would also team up with former El Clasico rival Sergio Ramos in Paris after the defender completed a free transfer to PSG in the summer. It is said that Messi believes the move to PSG would serve him well as he hopes to win more trophies. Barcelona’s loss to PSG in the Champions League last season also added to Messi’s belief that the French side is the best option for the next step of his glamorous career.
There were rumours about a number of clubs being in the running for Messi’s signature, but renowned journalist Fabrizio Romano has clarified that only Paris Saint Germain made direct contact with Messi and his father over a potential transfer, with the first contact being made on Thursday immediately after Barcelona’s announcement. Messi is set to earn up to €35 million until June 2023, and there is an option to extend the contract for a further year until 2024.