Hello, and welcome to football.london’s live coverage of Paris Saint-Germain’s press conference following the arrival of Lionel Messi in the French capital.
Messi was linked with a number of clubs over the last year, including both Manchester City and Chelsea, with contract disputes clouding his last two years at Barcelona.
With the Spanish club’s financial difficulties meaning they were unable to re-register Messi following the expiration of his deal this summer, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was forced to leave the Catalan side despite his wishes to stay.
PSG are one of the few clubs in world football able to finance a deal for Messi, with the attacker set to earn a reported €25million (£21.2million) per year in addition to the same amount in a signing bonus.
We’ll bring you everything the club and player have to say live below.
- Press conference finished
- Messi on Pochettino
- Messi on his biggest challenge
- Al-Khelaifi on FFP
- On ‘complicated’ Barcelona exit
- Messi on Ligue 1
- Al-Khelaifi on Mbappe staying
- On winning the Champions League with PSG
- On leaving Barcelona
- Message to fans
- On when he thinks he will make his PSG debut
- On playing with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar
- Messi admits leaving Barcelona was ‘so hard’
- And we are live
- Messi’s first words as a PSG player
- Messi jersey sells out
- Real Madrid legal action
- Berbatov ‘still crying’ over Messi
- It’s official
- Good morning!
Press conference finished
The press conference ends with the Argentine holding up a PSG shirt next to Al-Khelaifi.
Messi on Pochettino
“The coaching staff and the squad had a lot to do with me choosing this club.
“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.
Messi on his biggest challenge
“Yes that is true the only thing I told Leonardo is that I really hoped my family would be at ease in Paris and in France. It is a new experience but I am ready for that and really want to do that.
“It is football and football is the same 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. I want to being now.
“This is new but I am ready. In the sporting aspect and for my family it is beautiful.”
Al-Khelaifi on FFP
“Regarding FFP, we always follow the regulations from day one to the end. We will always follow these regulations. before we do anything, we check with our commercial, financial and legal people.
“We have the capacity to sign him. What Leo brings to the club is huge, which you can see just outside. He is a big asset for the club.”
“I hope Leo will not ask for more salary, but what we have is fantastic.”
On ‘complicated’ Barcelona exit
“It was very complicated to exit Barcelona without knowing where I would go. Barcelona was my home since I was a kid. I knew I’d arrive in a strong team that was aiming to win the Champions League, which I love to win.
“I know my goals and Paris’ goals are the same. I don’t know if we will face Barcelona, it would be very nice to go back, hopefully with fans. It would be very strange to play at home, there in Barcelona, in another shirt, but it could happen.”
Messi on Ligue 1
“I’ve been following, and I know Ligue 1 because of my friends.
“This league has been growing a lot … it’s more competitive, all the teams are getting stronger because they want to beat PSG.”
Al-Khelaifi on Mbappe staying
“I think everybody knows the future of Kylian, people from Paris and the players. He is a really competitive player. He wants to win, he wants to win trophies, he said it in public.
“He wanted a competitive team and I think we have got the most competitive in the world. So there is no excuse for him now. He can’t do anything else but stay.”
On winning the Champions League with PSG
“This team is ready. There are some new transfers, but they have been close and are ready (to win the Champions League).
“I have just come here to help. My dream is to win this trophy again and I think Paris is the best place to do so.”
On leaving Barcelona
“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 lived and experiences in Barcelona but I feel happy about this new life. I am very happy.”
Message to fans
“I am really grateful to the people in the street. I was in Barcelona when the press told about that and I have seen things from Spain and people were already out in the streets. It is incredible.
“I want to thank them and I want to see them in the city and the stadium. It will be an incredible year.”
On when he thinks he will make his PSG debut
“Actually I do not know. I was on holidays and it is very new. I spoke yesterday with technical staff.
“Maybe I need a pre-season myself. I am going to begin to train and I hope I can play as soon as I can. But I cannot answer exactly the question.”
On playing with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar
“It is really crazy and I am really happy about that. Sharing the day-to-day life with them and the squad, the team is incredible and I really want to train and compete now because I am going to be playing with the best players.
“It is an incredible experience.”
Messi admits leaving Barcelona was ‘so hard’
The footballing icon admitted that leaving the Catalan giants was extremely hard, although, he is excited for a new chapter.
“I am very happy. You all know how my exit was from Barcelona. It has been a very hard moment after so many years. But the moment I arrived here I felt very happy and I have enjoyed my time in Paris from the first minute.
“My only will now is to start training with my new team-mates. I still want to win, as I wanted it in the first moment of my career. I want to keep winning titles and that is why I came here to this club.”
And we are live
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has admitted he is over the moon to have Messi at the club.
“I would like to welcome Leo to the PSG family. I am proud to present Leo as a PSG player. It is an historic day for the club and the football world. Everybody knows Leo. He makes football magic, beautiful and he is a winner.”
“It is very exciting for our fans worldwide.There was a great desire from both sides to make this happen. I would like to think Leo and your family for making this happen.
“This is just the start. The hard work will start now. I am sure he is going to bring us a lot of trophies with his team-mates.”
Messi’s first words as a PSG player
Upon signing for PSG, Messi admitted he was delighted to start the new chapter of his footballing career in the French capital.
“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain”, he told the club’s website.
“Everything about the club matches my football ambitions. I know how talented the squad and the coaching staff are here.
“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.”
Read more here.
Messi jersey sells out
Messi has chosen to wear the No 30 jersey with the French giants, which is the same number he donned when he made his Barcelona debut.
And The Sun reported that both Messi’s home and away shirts sold out in less than 20 minutes after they were unveiled in the club’s official store.
Real Madrid legal action
La Liga stopped Messi’s proposed contract renewal with Barcelona going through due to the Catalan club’s current financial problems.
And Spanish giants Real Madrid have announced that they plan to bring ‘legal actions against the president of LaLiga, Mr. Javier Tebas Medrano, against Mr. Javier de Jaime Guijarro responsible of the CVC Fund and against the CVC Capital Partners.’
Los Blancos are reportedly frustrated with the share of TV rights to a private equity company, resulting in the ongoing legal battle.
Berbatov ‘still crying’ over Messi
Former Spurs and Manchester United frontman Dimitar Berbatov admitted that watching Lionel Messi’s Barcelona goodbye was extremely painful.
“I’m still crying about Lionel Messi. Football with never be the same again for Barcelona and it is the end of an era” Berbatov told Betfair.
“I didn’t expect it to happen and it was tough to watch his press conference, leaving home is never easy and I can imagine a lot of the fans are very unhappy.
“Football can be cruel. On the other hand, it is a new chapter and a new adventure for Messi, he can go on and challenge himself outside his comfort zone. He doesn’t have anything to prove to anybody, only to himself.”
PSG formally announced the signing of Lionel Messi on a free transfer last night.
Hello, and welcome to football.london’s live blog as Paris Saint-Germain hold a press conference following Lionel Messi’s free transfer to the Ligue 1 side.