Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi Speaks to Paris Media for First Time Since Barcelona-to-PSG Move

The Argentinian is heading to Paris after 21 years with Barcelona

Argentinian football player Lionel Messi
Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP via Getty Images

Lionel Messi has moved from the Camp Nou to the Louvre.

The soccer legend flew to Paris on Tuesday and finalized his move from F.C. Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain F.C. He passed his physical ahead of his official introduction from the team.

On Wednesday morning, the Argentinian star sat in front of a blue and red backdrop for the first time as a member of PSG, saying he was excited to work with his new teammates on the pitch. "I think this club, with this staff, is ready to fight for every trophy," he said, in Spanish.

"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's president and chief executive officer, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, beaming as he sat down next to his new star at Wednesday's presser, expressed how excited he was to complete the move for a player he called the "best in the world."

"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," Al-Khelaifi said. "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.

"I'm sure he's going to bring us a lot of trophies," he added, also noting he'd heard how much Messi's kids already like the new city their father will call home for at least the next two years.

A packed crowd of fans outside the stadium — cheering, chanting and celebrating as if they had already won the long-sought European Cup — greeted Messi, who joins PSG on two-year contract worth a reported $41 million annually with a third-year option. He will wear No. 30, the same number he wore during his Barcelona debut in 2004.

Messi and his family arrived in Paris via private jet and were greeted by adoring PSG supporters.

His journey through Paris was just as dramatic as his arrival in Paris, as he was led by a massive, city-stopping motorcade. 

Tuesday saw some notable scenes at Messi’s former club, too, as crews in Barcelona began taking down Messi imagery from the Camp Nou.

Messi took the podium on Sunday for a press conference where he tearfully said farewell to the club he’s been a part of for 21 years. He said he was willing to take a 50% cut to his salary at Barca, but the club could not meet those requests due to financial restrictions. 

Just two days later, the 34-year-old Argentinian signed with one of the top teams in Ligue 1.

Messi will be welcomed to the club by a familiar face, Neymar. The two superstar forwards were teammates at Barca for four years before Neymar joined PSG in 2017. PSG also boast Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti and more international stars.

PSG and Barca have been Champions League contenders in recent history, even going head to head. Their most notable matchup came in the Round of 16 in 2017. After PSG won 4-0 in the first leg, Messi and Barca completed a miraculous comeback with a 6-1 win at the Camp Nou.

By joining one of the world’s top clubs, Messi has a chance to compete against his former home in a PSG jersey.

"There is no doubt that I will go to a team that will compete with Barca,” he said about potentially joining a rival. “I didn't want to leave, but I have to. And I want to keep winning. That's my mentality. I want to win."

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