Lionel Messi agrees Paris St-Germain deal after Barcelona exit – Guillem Balague

Lionel Messi agrees Paris St-Germain deal after Barcelona exit – Guillem Balague

Lionel Messi has agreed a two-year deal to join Paris St-Germain following his shock exit from Barcelona, says BBC Sport columnist Guillem Balague.

The deal, which has the option of a third year, is subject to a medical.

The Argentina captain, 34, left Barca – the only club he has played for – as they could not afford a new deal under La Liga’s financial fair play rules.

A PSG news conference will take place in the auditorium of the Parc des Princes on Wednesday at 10:00 BST.

Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG finished second to Lille in Ligue 1 last season.

“It’s all been confirmed. Lionel Messi is going to be a PSG player,” Balague said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “That’s it, it’s done. It’s happened in the last few minutes.

“At the moment there are as much police as there are fans [at the stadium]. That’s going to change soon. There’s eight cameras here, again that’s going to change. It seems like it is a two-year deal, plus one.

“His idea was to do it at Barcelona but it’s going

to be PSG. Then if he feels OK he will stay one

more year maybe. But in any case his aim is to be

at PSG and then to do well in the Qatar World

Cup.”

Messi and his family were pictured at Barcelona’s

El Prat airport on Tuesday afternoon after news of

the deal emerged.

When asked by reporters whether his son would

be joining PSG, Jorge Messi answered “yes”.

Messi was pictured at El Prat airport on Tuesday afternoon after news of the deal with PSG emerged
Messi was pictured at El Prat airport on Tuesday afternoon after news of the deal with PSG emerged
Messi's wife Antonela Roccuzzo
Messi’s wife Antonela Roccuzzo posted this picture on Instagram on Tuesday with a caption talking of a “new adventure together”
Neymar
PSG’s Neymar posted this image on Instagram with the caption ‘Back Together’. The Brazilian played alongside Messi from 2013-2017 before his £200m move to France
A picture of Lionel Messi is taken down outside the Nou Camp
Pictures of Lionel Messi are being taken down at the Nou Camp

Considered one of the greatest players of all time,

Messi scored a record 672 goals in 778 games

for Barca, the club he joined as a 13-year-old.

He won the Ballon d’Or a record six times and

lifted 35 trophies with the Catalan club.

The signing of Messi – who would be reunited

with former Barca team-mate Neymar at the Parc

des Princes – is one of the most noteworthy

captures in football’s history.

He will play in a front three alongside the two

most expensive players of all time – Neymar and

Kylian Mbappe.

Unless there are any late hitches, he will become

PSG’s fourth free-transfer signing this summer

after the arrivals of Netherlands midfielder

Georginio Wijnaldum, Spain defender Sergio

Ramos and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi

Donnarumma.

Highly rated Morocco right-back Achraf Hakimi

also joined from Inter Milan.

PSG are yet to win the Champions League in a

decade of Qatari ownership and subsequent

heavy investment, with the 2020 final defeat

against Bayern Munich the closest they have

come.

Balague said: “Clearly what PSG’s ownership want

is a team that is in the Champions League final

every year.

“With Messi you have an advantage. Pochettino

being in charge and his contract being renewed

as well means they have an idea how to do that

and Messi will complement that.

“They will win the league, that’s almost a given

now, even though they lost last season. It will be a

less competitive league which means he will be

fresh of course, or should be, for the Champions

League campaign.”

Messi had agreed a new deal – on 50% of his old

wages – to stay at Barcelona but the club could

not afford to implement it because they were so

far above the wage limit allowed by La Liga.

“He used to earn 140m euros gross a year at

Barca, that’s around £125m,” said Balague. “Take

off about 40-50% for tax.

“He agreed to stay at Barcelona by reducing his

wages by 50%, not more than that because that’s

illegal [under Spanish law]. Basically the league

wouldn’t believe he was reducing his wages to

zero, which is what Barcelona may have tried to

do as they are 1bn euros in debt. Basically they

cannot afford him.”

If the deal goes through quickly, he could make

his PSG debut at home to Strasbourg on

Saturday.

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