Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed Lionel Messi will join the club, following his departure from the Catalan giants last week.
Messi has agreed a two-year deal with an option for a third, and brings about a new, unexpected chapter of his illustrious career after 21 years with Barcelona.
PSG teased the player’s signing on their Twitter page on Tuesday afternoon, with a further announcement and presentation to come at 11am local time on Wednesday. Messi has already arrived in Paris, to great celebration from local fans.
Messi’s shock departure from Barcelona was confirmed last Thursday, with the club publishing a statement outlining that while a contract was agreed with the 34-year-old, La Liga rules prevented the deal from being completed.
PSG soon swooped in, with Messi calling manager Mauricio Pochettino to push through a move to the French capital. Terms were soon ironed out, and once Messi had said his formal goodbyes to Barcelona at a Sunday press conference, plans to take the next step were in place.
Messi arrived in Paris on Tuesday afternoon, waving to supporters through a window at the airport.
The Argentinian captain, who lifted his first international trophy after winning the Copa America earlier this summer, is set to earn a staggering new salary in Paris.
He is set to take home up to €35m a year after tax, while some reports state he’s set to pocket a mammoth €25m signing on fee upon completion of this deal.
He is expected to take the number 30 shirt – a number assigned to goalkeepers per Ligue 1 rules – but an exception is expected to be made for a player many consider to be the greatest of all time. The number 30 shirt is the number he wore while breaking in to the Barcelona first team.
Reflecting on his time at Barcelona and recent departure from the club, Messi lifted the lid on how this unexpected twist came about.
“Up until the last minute, I thought it was fine. Then everything happened with La Liga and it couldn’t happen,” he said on Sunday.
“I know I did everything possible to stay, but the club couldn’t do it because of La Liga. I reduced my demands by 50% and they didn’t ask me for anything else. I did everything but it wasn’t possible. I did everything.
“My blood ran cold when I found out. It was really difficult. I’m still trying to process it all. When I go home, I’ll feel bad, probably worse. But my family and I are fine, and I can keep playing football. That’s the most important thing. It’s difficult but we need to move on.”
Messi could make his Ligue 1 debut for PSG on September 12, against Clermont.