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Lionel Messi completes move to Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year deal after leaving Barcelona

Lionel Messi has completed a sensational move to Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year deal after leaving Barcelona following 21 incredible years. 

Messi became a free agent this summer after his original contract with Barcelona expired, but he was expected to re-sign with the club following positive initial talks between all parties. 

Yet due to LaLiga’s financial regulations, the 34-year-old superstar was unable to sign and now moves to the Parc des Princes to play under fellow Rosario native Mauricio Pochettino and will line-up alongside former team-mate Neymar and French superstar Kylian Mbappe. 

Messi was pictured alongside four PSG players – Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes – at a dinner in Ibiza 24 hours before Barcelona confirmed he was leaving.

The 34-year-old played it down as a ‘coincidence’ in his departing press conference but he will now join forces with the quartet in Paris. 

‘Coincidence? Completely. I met them in Ibiza, we met them one day, got together and we’re friends,’ Messi explained. ‘I was going to meet Paredes and Di Maria. Ney called me and said “do you want to see me?”  

‘We uploaded the photo in that moment because we were having a good time and there was a joke at the time, they kept telling me “come to Paris, come to Paris”.

Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona after agreeing a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain

Mauricio Pochettino's PSG have pulled off the mega deal

The departing Barcelona legend reportedly approached Pochettino directly about a move to Ligue 1

Messi will work under coach and compatriot Mauricio Pochettino (left) at the Parc des Princes

Neymar played with Messi at Barcelona and is still in contact with his Copa America nemesis

Neymar played with Messi at Barcelona and is still in contact with his Copa America nemesis 

MESSI’S HONOURS AT BARCELONA 

LaLiga – 10 

Copa del Rey – 7

Champions League – 4 

Supercopa de Espana – 7

UEFA Super Cup – 3

FIFA Club World Cup – 3  

Messi was left in tears last Sunday at his farewell press conference as he revealed he was leaving against his wishes. 

Having agreed to a 50 per cent pay cut, Messi was adamant he did all he could to allow Barcelona the chance to strike a deal.

Spanish employment law rules out options such as playing for free. 

‘There’s nothing more to tell,’ Messi said. 

‘Anything else, I can’t say. What’s clear is that I did everything possible; the club, Laporta, they couldn’t do it because of LaLiga.

‘I’ve heard a lot of things said about me, that I didn’t want to continue, but on my behalf, we did everything we could because I wanted to stay.’

Messi joined Barcelona as a 15-year-old and went on to make his senior debut in 2004 at just 16 years old, featuring 778 times for the club in total across his 21-year-career. 

During that time Messi became Barcelona’s record scorer with 672 goals including 120 Champions League goals and a record 474 LaLiga goals.    

He also managed 10 LaLiga titles, four Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Reys. 

Messi’s individual contribution also saw him claim the European Golden Shoe award for the continent’s top scorer on six occasions.

The 34-year-old was in Ibiza with the club's big names including Neymar and Angel Di Maria

The 34-year-old was in Ibiza with the club’s big names including Neymar and Angel Di Maria

Messi's father, Jorge, (right) was central to the negotiations on behalf of his son's PSG switch

Messi’s father, Jorge, (right) was central to the negotiations on behalf of his son’s PSG switch

Messi's with his six golden balls - he also won four Champions Leagues at the Nou Camp

Messi’s with his six golden balls – he also won four Champions Leagues at the Nou Camp

Messi looked devastated as he spoke to the media and his team-mates at the Nou Camp

Messi looked devastated as he spoke to the media and his team-mates at the Nou Camp

President Joan Laporta had reportedly made Messi a priority this summer and was focused on signing the Argentine until 2026.  

The forward was prepared to take a 50 per cent pay deduction from his previous deal – which was worth more than £425million over four years – to adhere to LaLiga’s financial fair play rules. 

This would have seen Messi’s earnings slashed by £250,000-a-week on the proposed new five-year contract. However, the 34-year-old was said to be happy to take the hit if it meant he was able to re-register as a Barcelona player with LaLiga.  

But it proved unworkable and Laporta refused to blame Messi for his departure, with the Barcelona supremo insisting the Argentinean made it easier for the club to extend his deal – but the club were not able to extend his contract and keep the club within LaLiga’s salary rules.  

An emotional Laporta told his press conference last Friday: ‘The base of everything is the previous administration’s disastrous management which we inherited.

‘Some decisions might even have been criminal. I’m not talking about signings. Some are hard to understand. They must have been under pressure but it led to this situation now.’ 

The Spanish top-flight club announced a debt of €1billion in February of this year, a few months after Josep Bartomeu resigned from his role as president. 

Barcelona shared a bombshell statement on Thursday evening saying the 34-year-old would not be staying at the club due to financial restrictions placed upon them by LaLiga

Barcelona shared a bombshell statement on Thursday evening saying the 34-year-old would not be staying at the club due to financial restrictions placed upon them by LaLiga

He went on to make his senior debut in 2004 at just 16 years old and featured 778 times

He went on to make his senior debut in 2004 at just 16 years old and featured 778 times

During that time Messi became Barcelona's record scorer with 672 goals including 120 Champions League goals and a record 474 LaLiga goals

During that time Messi became Barcelona’s record scorer with 672 goals including 120 Champions League goals and a record 474 LaLiga goals 

Messi’s father Jorge travelled to Barcelona to meet with the club’s officials to close the deal and sign the new contract but was left stunned when, at a dinner, he was told a new deal was not possible.

The divorce with Barcelona has been an emotional one, so much so that a lawyer working on behalf of the Spanish club’s loyal section of supporters filed a complaint to the European Court of Appeals, stating the Parisians should be stopped in their pursuit of Messi based on financial data.  

Juan Branco confirmed the complaint on Twitter on Sunday night by tweeting a statement that read: ‘In the name of the ‘socios’ of Barcelona, my firm has prepared a complaint with the European Commission and demands for provisional suspension before civil and administrative courts in France to prevent Paris-Saint Germain from signing Lionel Messi.

‘PSG’s ratios in terms of “Financial Fair Play” are worse than those of FC Barcelona.

‘In 2019-2020, PSG’s salary-to-income ratio was 99%, while Barcelona’s was 54%. Meanwhile, the difference has increased.

‘It is inconceivable that the “Financial Fair Play” serves to aggravate the drifts of football-business, the instrumentalization of football by sovereign powers, and the distortion of competitions.’  

Manager Ronald Koeman says it is ‘still hard to understand’ that Messi has left Barcelona, with the baffled Dutchman taking to Twitter to wish the Argentine well following his shock departure.   

In a document posted by Juan Branco, he confirmed 'socios' were looking to stop the move

In a document posted by Juan Branco, he confirmed ‘socios’ were looking to stop the move

Messi joined Barca's famous La Masia academy from Argentine side Newell's Old Boys in 2000

Messi joined Barca’s famous La Masia academy from Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys in 2000

Messi has been left 'shocked' and 'dejected' by Barcelona's inability to renew his contract

Messi has been left ‘shocked’ and ‘dejected’ by Barcelona’s inability to renew his contract

‘Still hard to understand that you will not play for @FCBarcelona anymore,’ the former Everton and Southampton manager wrote on Twitter. 

‘Thanks for everything you have done for our club Leo. I really enjoyed the full season we worked together. I am impressed with your work ethic and desire to win.

‘It makes you the best player in the world. For now, I wish you and your family the best! #ForcaBarca’. 

In their statement, Barcelona cited ‘financial and structural obstacles’ as their inability to secure his signature for the next five years. 

A statement on their official website read: ‘Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles [Spanish LaLiga regulations].

‘FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.’     

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk