Watch: Crazy scenes in Paris as Lionel Messi meets PSG fans
After joining Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) officially, Lionel Messi was introduced to a bunch of ecstatic fans at the Parc des Princes by club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. The Ligue 1 club took to social media to post a clip where fans can be seen going wild in front of the Argentine superstar.
Here's the clip for you:
At his introductory news conference, the 34-year-old star said, "My goal and dream is to raise another Champion's (League Trophy) and I believe that I am in the right place to have the best chances to achieve that."
"When you see this squad, you really want to play with them because there are so many possibilities, he added. We have the same goal. And Neymar of course did a lot and was important for my choice."
Qatari-backed PSG has been desperate to win the Champions League, falling just short when it lost the 2020 final to Bayern Munich. Messi helped Barcelona win four Champions League trophies. Messi's arrival gives PSG formidable attacking options as he links up with not only Neymar his former teammate at Barcelona but also France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe.
"I'm going to play with best players, it's very nice, it's incredible to be able to experience this," said Messi, who also cited Argentina teammates and PSG players Angel di Maria and Leandro Paredes. "Obviously, one of the reasons (I came) was the locker room: Neymar, Di Maria, Paredes, whom I know."
Messi said he is ready to start playing with PSG, which hosts Strasbourg on Saturday night.
"When I feel it, when the staff thinks I'm ok, I'll be ready. I'm willing to play," he said.
Messi became the most high-profile free agent in soccer history after his attempts to stay at Barcelona were rejected last week by the Spanish league because the salary would not comply with financial regulations, with the Catalan club burdened by debts of more than 1.2 billion euros ( 1.4 billion).
PSG moved quickly to sign the Argentina star. The team, Messi said, "Positioned themselves and everything went really fast and it was easy. It happened in little time. It was a difficult situation and they were efficient."
PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino quickly made contact with his fellow Argentine after Barcelona announced last Thursday that Messi would be leaving the club he joined as a 13-year-old boy. Messi won every major honor with Barcelona and was granted a tearful exit news conference on Sunday to signal the end of an era. Only Cristiano Ronaldo in the current era challenges Messi's status as an all-time great.
While PSG had to pay 222 million euros (then 261 million) to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, there was no transfer fee for Messi.
No salary details were given, but a person with knowledge of the negotiations earlier told The Associated Press that Messi is set to earn around 35 million euros ( 41 million) net annually. The person said on condition of anonymity before the contract was signed. PSG will be hoping not only that Messi helps the team regain the French title it lost to Lille last season but finally win the Champions League.
(With AP inputs)