The 34-year-old has signed a two-year contract with the Ligue 1 giants with an option to extend for a third year.
Days after departing FC Barcelona in an emotional farewell, Lionel Messi was announced as a Paris Saint-Germain player on August 11 (Wednesday). The 34-year-old has signed a two-year contract with an option to sign for an additional year. Fans waiting for Lionel Messi outside the Parc des Princes went wild as Messi was presented to them.
Messi was welcomed with open arms by the club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi as he arrived at the club with his family. Messi will wear the No. 30 jersey at PSG, the same number he wore at FC Barcelona when he made his senior team debut. Here are the key talking points from Messi’s first press conference as a PSG player.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s welcome
“I’m very happy and very proud to announce Leo Messi as a Paris Saint-Germain player. It is a historic day for our club. Messi has won the Ballon d’Or six times and he does magic in football. He is a winner and it is an exciting time for our supporters all over the world,” said the PSG president said while welcoming the Argentine talisman.
“The hard work is still yet to begin. Messi has won a lot of trophies in his career and I am sure that he can bring that success to Paris as well. We have got the best players in every position and the best coach as well to bring them together. We are a competitive team and that is why Messi wanted to join us. Welcome to Paris, Leo,” he added.
Messi’s thoughts about PSG and its players
At his unveiling, Lionel Messi said, “I’m very happy to be here. I still want to play at a competitive level and want to win. I feel that Paris is a team that is ready to fight for every trophy.”
The Argentine also thanked the PSG team who helped this deal to go through and also thanked the fans for a very energetic, yet warm welcome.
On the prospect of playing with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Messi explained, “It’s really crazy and I am very happy about it. It is a great feeling to share my day-to-day life with them and all the squad. There have been some amazing transfers here and the team is incredible. I am happy to play with the best players.”
Messi further spoke about the PSG squad and explained, “I know Paredes, Di Maria very well too. I also know a lot of others. I have a lot of friends in this team and it was an important part of my decision too.”
On PSG’s Champions League chances and Ligue 1
“They are very close to winning the Champions League already. I have joined them to help with the same. Right now, my dream is to win the Champions League again and I think that Paris is the best place to achieve that. It is a special competition,” he answered, speaking about PSG’s Champions League ambitions.
“The team is very good but we are yet to win it. This time, we have to work very hard in every game for us to do it,” he added.
“I have followed the league (Ligue 1) of course. It will be a great new experience for me. I think that the quality of the league is improving every year. All the teams are strengthening and trying to compete with PSG. I am eager to play against these new teams in new stadiums,” Lionel Messi opined.
Did PSG breach FFP regulations to sign Lionel Messi?
When this topic was brought up, Nasser joked that he was waiting for this question. He promptly clarified, “We follow Financial Fairplay Policy (FFP) regulations from day one. We will always fulfil FFP. Before we do anything, our financial team checks everything. When you see we’re signing Leo, you know we’ve got the capacity to do so.”
Later, he further joked, “We are blown away by the financial impact brought by this signing over just the last three days. You’ll be shocked by the numbers yourself. I just hope Leo does not ask for a bigger salary now!”
Lionel Messi also spoke about the prospect of playing against FC Barcelona in the Champions League.
“Of course it was very difficult to exit Barca. It is my home after all. I want to win and my current goals match with Paris. Although, I would love to play Barcelona. In front of the fans. It might be a little weird to play in a different shirt at Camp Nou though. But I will look forward to it,” he expressed.
“The most important thing for my family is to adapt quickly to the country. I have friends in the dressing room and it’s clear that will help me. I’m enthusiastic and keen. I want to get to know my coach and my teammates. I’m ready on the sporting side and to experience another city,” he signed off.