Argentine football star Lionel Messi said that he was looking forward to begin training with Paris Saint-Germain but acknowledged that it was “difficult” to leave Barcelona after so many years.
“My only will now is to begin the training sessions. I want to work with the staff and my teammates,” Messi said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“I really feel impatient and happy about this new life,” Messi said, while adding that he had “been going through ups and downs.”
Messi signed on Tuesday with Paris Saint-German to play until at least 2023 with the option for an additional year. He will wear the no30 jersey.
“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain. Everything about the club matches my football ambitions. I know how talented the squad and the coaching staff are here,” Messi said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Chairman and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain said he is “delighted that Lionel Messi has chosen to join Paris Saint-Germain and we are proud to welcome him and his family to Paris.”
“The addition of Leo to our world-class squad continues a very strategic and successful transfer window for the club,” he went on.
‘Here, is Paris’
Messi and his family arrived in Paris at 15:30 local time on Tuesday, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the club’s slogan “Ici, c’est Paris” (Here is Paris).
At the same time, the club posted a 13-second video on social media filled with references to the player including his six Ballon d’Or awards and the Argentinian flag.
Another post shows the six Ballon d’Or in front of the Eiffel Tower with an hourglass for caption.
The 34-year-old Argentinian superstar announced last week that he would leave FC Barcelona after more than two decades with the Catalan club.
Messi became the most desired free agent in football history after his Barcelona contract expired. The Catalan club had hoped to keep Messi, who agreed to a pay cut, but it still wouldn’t have complied with the Spanish league’s financial regulations.
Funded for a decade by Qatari sovereign wealth, PSG is one of the few clubs in the world that could finance the signing of Messi.
Messi is set to earn around €35 million net annually, a person familiar with the contract negotiations told the Associated Press.
The footballer will join Brazil’s Neymar, who previously played for Barcelona, and French forward Kylian Mbappé.
PSG previously paid €222 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, there was no transfer fee for Messi.
Neymar took to Instagram to express his delight with his new teammate, posting a picture of them in his story with the caption: “Back together”.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma described Messi in an interview with Sky Italia on Tuesday as “the strongest player in the world.”
“I am moved and happy at the idea of having him in our team,” he added.
Messi has won six Ballon d’Or titles in a sign of his status as one of the greatest players of all time.