Paris Saint-Germain has signed Lionel Messi on a free transfer from Barcelona until June 2023 with option a further year.
Messi’s free transfer to PSG comes after La Liga regulations prevented him from signing a new deal with Barcelona, where he scored 672 goals in 778 appearances across all competitions in 17 seasons at the Catalonian club.
Messi has consequently signed a two-year contract at PSG until June 2023 with option to extend for a further season, in a move which reunites him with former Barcelona teammate – Neymar who joined the Ligue 1 team in August 2017.
Speaking on his decision to sign for PSG, Messi revealed that he was “excited to begin a new chapter” of his career upon completion of his free transfer to PSG after having spent 21 years at Barcelona.
Explaining why he chose to sign for PSG, Messi said: “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 and CEO, Nasser Al-Khelaifi added that he is “delighted” to secure Messi’s services, after the Argentinean revealed his desire to continue competing at the pinnacle of football in the search of trophies which fits the club’s natural ambitions.
Messi could make his PSG debut on Saturday (14 August) as last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up host Strasbourg at Parc Des Prince in their first home match of the season and will wear the no.30 shirt.
“I was convinced I was staying, at home,”
Messi’s move to PSG comes after La Liga regulations on player registration prevented Messi from renewing his contract at Barcelona, despite both player and club having reached an agreement, which left both Messi and Barcelona feeling ‘deep regret’ at failure to fulfil their wishes.
Speaking on Sunday (8 August) at a farewell conference, Messi struggled with his emotions as he admitted that the decision had come as a shock, as he said: ” I was not prepared. I was convinced I was staying, at home, that’s what we wanted.
“We always placed our own happiness first, being at home, enjoying life in Barcelona on sporting and personal level.”
The Argentinean also reflected on his 21 year spell at Barcelona since joining the youth academy at 13 years-old, admitting that he “cannot be more proud” of his achievements at the club and has vowed to return in the future in some format.
Messi also paid tribute to fans who had supported him until the very end of his stay in Barcelona, commenting: “I would also like to thank the people’s affection towards me, I would have liked to say goodbye in a different way.”
His exit however comes under a cloud of having not played in front of fans since March 2020 due to Coronavirus pandemic, with Messi heartbreakingly spoke of, as he said: “To be able to do it out there on the field, hear my last ovation, have them close, hear the cheering…I leave the Club without having seen them for a year and a half.”
In 17 seasons at Barcelona, Messi has won 35 trophies across six different competitions including ten La Liga titles, plus three Champions League, Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup trebles in 2009, 11 & 15 respectively amongst various titles.