PARIS: Lionel Messi believes he is in the best possible position to win another Champions League trophy, and he attributes his choice to join Paris Saint-Germain to a chance to reunite with his former teammate Neymar.
The 34-year-old Argentina international spoke at his first press conference at the Parc des Princes stadium on Wednesday morning, just hours after agreeing to a two-year contract with an option for a third season with the club following his release from Barcelona.
“My ambition and desire is to win another champion (League) Trophy, and I believe that I am in the best possible position to do so,” Messi stated of his ambition and aspiration.
“When you see this squad, you immediately want to join them because there are so many opportunities,” says the coach.
He went on to say more. “We are working for the same goal. Of course, Neymar contributed significantly to my decision and was critical in my decision.”
Qatari-backed After years of trying, Paris Saint-Germain came up just short as it lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich in the year 2020.
Barcelona won four Champions League titles with Messi’s assistance.
Messi’s signing at PSG provides the club with a plethora of attacking options, as he joins forces with not just Neymar — his former Barcelona teammate — but also France World Cup champion Kylian Mbappe.
“I’m going to play with the finest players, it’s extremely wonderful, and it’s incredible to be able to experience this,” Messi added, mentioning Argentina colleagues and PSG players Angel di Maria and Leandro Paredes as examples of who he would be playing with.
“Obviously, one of the reasons (I came) was because of the locker room, which had Neymar, D’Mara, and Paredes, all of whom I am familiar with.”
Lionel Messi has stated that he is “ready” to begin playing for PSG, which takes on Strasbourg on Saturday evening.
“I’ll be ready as soon as I feel it and as soon as the staff believes I’m okay. “I’m willing to participate,” he stated.
When Messi’s attempts to stay at Barcelona were rejected by the Spanish league last week because his salary would not comply with financial regulations, the Catalan club, which is saddled with debts of more than 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion), became the most high-profile free agent in soccer history, becoming the most high-profile free agent in soccer history.
PSG moved quickly to secure the services of the Argentina star. Messi explained that the team “positioned themselves” and that “everything went extremely quickly and easily.”
Everything transpired in a short period of time. It was a terrible situation, and they handled it professionally.”
After Barcelona confirmed last Thursday that Messi would be leaving the club that he joined as a 13-year-old youngster, PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino immediately reached out to his fellow Argentine to express his support.
On Sunday, Messi was afforded a sad farewell press conference to mark the conclusion of an era in which he had won every major award while playing for Barcelona. In the modern period, only Cristiano Ronaldo comes close to Messi’s status as a true all-time great player.
While PSG was required to pay 222 million euros (then $261 million) to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, there was no such price for Lionel Messi to join the club.
Although no payment information was provided, a source familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that Messi is expected to make roughly 35 million euros ($41 million) net each year. During a pre-contract interview, the individual spoke on the condition of anonymity.
PSG will be hoping that Messi can not only help the squad win the French championship it lost to Lille last season, but also assist the team win the Champions League for the first time.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain, hailed the occasion as “a historic day for the club, the football world, and a tremendous moment for us.”
“Everyone is familiar with Leo… He creates football magic, he makes it beautiful, and he is a winner. It will be a thrilling experience for our followers in the United States and around the world,” he continued. “We have a lot of ambition.”
Messi admitted that it was “quite difficult” to say goodbye to Barcelona after so many years, but added that “the moment I landed here, I felt extremely delighted.”
Since the infusion of Qatari sovereign wealth investment tied to the emir, PSG supporters have witnessed their club undergo significant transformation over the last decade. Upon the expiration of Messi’s contract with Barcelona — and the Catalan club’s inability to afford to keep him — PSG was one of the few clubs that could finance a deal to bring the six-time world player of the year to the French capital.
In his final season with Barcelona, Messi will wear the No. 30 jerseys, which he wore for his first two seasons before transferring to No. 19 and then the valued No. 10 jerseys, which Neymar will keep at Paris Saint-Germain.