Lionel Messi spoke at a press conference at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday morning after being announced as a Paris Saint-Germain player less than 24 hours earlier.
The 34-year-old, who agreed to join PSG this week after Barcelona were unable to offer him a new contract due to the club’s perilous financial predicament, spoke to a group of journalists inside his new club’s stadium alongside PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
Messi’s family, including his wife and three children, were also in attendance.
Fans outside the stadium chanted Messi’s name as they welcomed the global footballing icon.
Messi and his family then emerged, with his three children all wearing PSG shirts.
What did Messi say at PSG press conference?
Al-Khelaifi opened the press conference by saying it was a “historic day” for the club…
Messi then said, per The Athletic’s Dermot Corrigan: “My exit from Barca was very hard, after so many years, but as soon as I arrived here I was so happy, so motivated, so excited. It has happened so fast, but I am enjoying it so much.”
On playing with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Messi added: “It’s really crazy and I’m happy about that. Sharing the day to day life with them and all the squad. Really there are some amazing transfers here and the team is incredible. I’m going to be playing with the best players.”
On when he might make his PSG debut, Messi admitted that he may need a short pre-season first.
“I will have to do pre-season alone, and I hope to be able to play as soon as possible.”
His message to the PSG fans was clear: “I want to thank them and I want to see them now.”
On playing in Ligue 1, Messi said: “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.”
Messi also admitted that Neymar played a big role in his decision to join PSG…
He also said: “Neymar is a great player, best of the world in his position. I wanted him at Barca, now it has turned around, and I’m here with him. He’s a spectacular kid – dressing room full of magnificent players.”
On the possibility of facing Barcelona as a PSG player, Messi continued: “It would be very nice to go back to Barcelona. I hope it would be possible with fans but it would be very strange to play at home in Barcelona with another shirt.”
As the press conference was wrapped up, Messi’s name was chanted by fans inside the room:
How can PSG afford to sign Messi?
Al-Khelaifi was asked during the press conference how PSG can afford to add Messi to a squad already filled with highly-paid stars.
He responded: “We follow Financial Fair Play regulation since day 1. Before we do anything, our financial team checks everything. We had the capacity to sign Messi for Financial Fair Play and we will always follow the rules”.
He added: “I hope Leo does not ask for a raise! We hope that Ligue 1 will receive a boost on the TV rights front. We are working for the league & the city, as well as the club. I also want to thank the LFP.”
Messi has signed two-year contract
Messi has signed a two-year contract with the French outfit and could make his debut as early as Saturday when PSG host Strasbourg, although that fixture may come slightly too soon for him after not having had a proper pre-season.
The Argentina international, who won the Copa America this summer, will be expected to help deliver a first Champions League trophy to PSG after joining a team containing fellow superstars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos.
Messi wants to win the Champions League again
PSG now boast the formidable squad in world football and are currently the favourites to win this season’s Champions League, ahead of Manchester City and Bayern Munich.
Messi’s desire to add another Champions League winners’ medal to his collection was one of the primary reasons why he chose PSG over any other club interested in securing his services.
“I came here to help,” he added during his press conference. “My goal is to win this trophy again and I think Paris is the best place to win this trophy again.”
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner last won the Champions League in 2015, alongside Neymar.
He also won European football’s biggest prize in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
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