Paris, 11 August 2021 (STATS Perform/dpa/MIA) — Lionel Messi has joined Paris Saint-Germain on an initial two-year deal after calling time on his 18-year Barcelona career.
Messi became arguably the greatest footballer of all time at Camp Nou, scoring 672 times in 778 appearances, but his prolific spell came to an end after Barca’s dire financial situation forced the club’s hand, Stats Perform reports.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had been a free agent since July 1, though the expectation was for him to sign a new contract at the Catalan club.
However, last Thursday’s announcement he would not re-sign with Barca due to “financial and structural obstacles” prompted PSG to move quickly.
The 34-year-old was said to be a target a year ago when he stated his desire to leave, but ended up staying and playing out the final year of his contract.
Having teased the signing throughout the day on social media, PSG finally confirmed it with a video that included footage of their new recruit standing in the center circle of the Parc des Princes.
He will wear the number 30 shirt and while PSG confirmed the initial contract length, it is widely reported there is an option in place for a further year.
Messi will be reunited with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar, who joined PSG in a world-record deal in 2017, and link-up with Kylian Mbappe, with that trio set to form a devastating forward line.
Mbappe’s future is in doubt with the France star having only one year left on his contract, though there has been talk that Messi’s signing could convince him to agree new terms with PSG.
During his time at Barcelona, Messi claimed four Champions League triumphs alongside 10 LaLiga titles.
The forward finally won a senior international trophy in July, firing in four goals and adding five assists to secure Argentina’s first Copa America success since 1993.
Messi’s acquisition marks the culmination of a transfer window that has seen PSG add significantly to their squad, signing Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi after missing out on the Ligue 1 title and losing in the Champions League semi-finals last season.