Whether you can truly believe it or not, Lionel Messi is no longer a Barcelona player.
For many, La Blaugrana’s announcement that they couldn’t move forward with the Argentine was simply a ploy, and they waited for the dramatic U-turn to be revealed.
Next, Messi stood in front of the cameras, cried his eyes out and admitted it was all over. No Wolf of Wall Street, ‘I’m not leaving’ revelation this time – it truly was the end of an era. And that was confirmed on Tuesday, when Paris Saint-Germain announced they had signed the former Barça star on a two-year deal. Wow.
Messi’s arrival in Paris was clocked in a nine-minute video by the club, before he sat down to take part in a press conference to officially welcome him to his new home. But what did we learn from the press conference, and what did the Argentine have to say about the events that unfolded over the past few days?
First of all, Messi was keen to stress how thrilled he is to be beginning this new adventure.
“I am very happy. You all know how my exit was from Barcelona. It was very difficult after so many years. But as soon as I arrived here, I felt very happy and I have enjoyed my time in Paris from the first minute.
“My only desire now is to start training with my new team-mates. I still want to win, as I’ve wanted since the beginning of my career. I want to keep winning titles and that is why I came here to this club.”
FIFA players have been trying to complete their Ultimate Team for years, but PSG have only gone and done it in real life. Messi will join forces with two of football’s most outrageously talented and deadly forwards in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, rounding off an attacking trident which leaves defences all over Europe knocking at the knees.
He was asked about lining up alongside the duo, and being reunited with Neymar, who was part of Barça’s famous MSN (Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar) front three.
“I am very happy. It’s crazy. I’m going to play with the best players in the world, and that’s always good.
“Neymar and I know each other very well. I hope we will be stronger together and with all our teammates.”
Backlines, brace yourselves, you’re going to be breached.
We’re all desperate to see Messi take to the field in his new PSG jersey for the very first time. However, he’s been in holiday mode since his Copa America heroics with Argentina, and has not trained as part of a squad since.
So, when will he be back?
“Actually I don’t know. I’ve been on holiday and it is all very new. I spoke with technical staff yesterday; maybe I need my own pre-season. I’m going to begin training and hopefully I can play as soon as I can. But I cannot answer the question exactly.”
We could be forced to wait a wee while for the grand debut, then…
Obviously, Messi was brought to Paris because he is a money-making machine in commercial revenue, but there is another motive for the PSG owners: Champions League glory.
If anyone can guarantee European success for a club yet to taste such heights, it’s Messi. Is the squad now complete, then?
“This team is ready. Some new players have arrived, but they have been close and are ready.
“I’ve just come here to help. My dream is to win this trophy again and I think Paris is the best place to do so.”
One last dance…
But should the unthinkable happen, and Barcelona draw PSG in the Champions League, how would Messi react? Although he did state it would be strange, the Argentine admitted it’d be nice to see the fans ‘at home’.
“I don’t know if we will play Barcelona. It would be very nice to go back, hopefully with fans. It would be very strange to play at home in Barcelona, in another jersey, but it could happen.”
Inevitably, Messi was asked about the days in which he left Barcelona, and just how difficult the split was. He confessed it was ‘complicated’, but insisted he’s ready for his new challenge.
“It was very complicated to leave Barcelona without knowing where I would go. Barcelona was my home since I was a kid.
“Everything that happened to me this last week has been very strange. It has been hard, it has been emotional. I cannot forget what I experienced in Barcelona but I’m happy about this new life.”
Messi also stated that a big part of his decision to join PSG came down to coach and national compatriot Mauricio Pochettino. That’ll come as music to the former Tottenham Hotspur boss’ ears, after he failed to land the Ligue 1 title in his first half-season at the club.
“The coaching staff and the squad had a lot to do with me choosing this club,” Messi explained.
“I know the coach Mauricio Pochettino very well. The fact that he is Argentinian helped from the start, it was important in my decision making.”
But after all the trophies, all the Champions League glories, all the Ballon d’Ors, will this this drastic change at the end of his career be his greatest challenge?
“It is a new experience but I am ready.
“It is football and football is the same all over the world. I have friends here and that will make things easier. I will get used to my new teammates and I am really happy. I really want to train and get started now.”