HomeSportsFootballLionel Messi joins PSG on two-year deal after leaving Barcelona

Lionel Messi joins PSG on two-year deal after leaving Barcelona


Lionel Messi has signed with Paris Saint-Germain after being unable to renew his contract with Barcelona.

The forward joins on a two-year deal with the option of a third season.

Messi, 34, became a free agent on 1 July when his deal with Barcelona expired and had reached an agreement to extend his 21-year stay with the Spanish club.

But with Barcelona unable to sign their captain and record goalscorer to a new contract due to their wage bill exceeding La Liga rules, Messi was forced to leave his boyhood club and sign for a new team for the first time in his professional career.

The six-time Ballon D’Or winner gave an emotional press conference on Sunday in which he said he wanted to stay at Barcelona, the club he first joined as a 13-year-old, and insisted he had done everything he could to remain at the Camp Nou.

At Paris Saint-Germain, Messi will form a star-studded attacking line-up with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar and French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe.

PSG and manager Mauricio Pochettino moved quickly to sign the Argentine once it was clear he would be leaving Barcelona, with the former Tottenham boss holding talks with Messi hours after Barca confirmed the news of his departure.

The French club were linked with a move to Messi last summer, when the forward told Barcelona he wanted to leave, while Manchester City were also interested at the time.

Unlike last summer, however, Messi had not been pushing for a move away from Barcelona prior to joining PSG – even though his contract had expired. At his farewell press conference, Messi confirmed that he had agreed to take a 50 per cent wage cut to remain at the club but La Liga rules prevented him from signing a new contract.

As Messi was a free agent, Barcelona had to reduce its wage bill to 70 per cent of its turnover in order to register him as a new player. But with free agents Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia already signed this summer, Barcelona’s wages were at 95 per cent of their turnover, leaving them unable to renew their greatest ever player.

On Sunday, Messi said joining PSG was one “possibility” and that he had been contacted by several teams since his departure from Barcelona had been confirmed.

Messi also said that he remained hungry to win more major titles and add to the 35 trophies won during his glittering stay at Barcelona, stating: “I want to win. I’m going to a club that will compete with [Barcelona]. I didn’t want to leave but I have to and I have to continue my path to winning.”

At PSG, he joins a side who are desperate to win the Champions League and were left reeling by Lille’s surprise title win in Ligue 1 last season.

Backed by the state of Qatar, PSG have already signed free agents Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum this summer, as well as Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan.

Messi will join Argentina team-mates Angel Di Maria, Leandro Paredes and Mauro Icardi in Paris, as well as stars such as Neymar, Mbappe and Italy midfielder Marco Verratti.

The club’s bid to win the Champions League for the first time has so far fallen short but they have become outright favourites due to the signing of Messi, who has not won the competition since 2015.

Messi leaves Barcelona having scored a record 672 goals in 778 appearances for the club, winning 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues as well as six Ballon D’Or awards. He ended his long wait for a major international title with Argentina last month when his side defeated Brazil 1-0 in the final of the Copa America.

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