Lionel Messi flew on a private jet to Paris on Tuesday to finalize his move to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Argentina international traveled to the French capital following Sunday’s emotional farewell to Barcelona at a news conference. Sources told ESPN that Messi has agreed to sign a two-year contract at PSG, with the option to extend for a third year.
Messi is due to complete a medical Tuesday. PSG officially announced the news conference for Wednesday at 11 a.m. and also posted a 13-second video on their social media with images of Messi’s No. 10 Argentina shirt and a graphic that reads: “New diamond in Paris.”
The news conference had been originally planned for Tuesday, but sources told ESPN it was moved to Wednesday as PSG need more time to cope with logistics amid worldwide media interest in the transfer.
Messi boarded a private aircraft as hundreds of fans waited for him at the Bourget airport in France and at PSG’s Parc des Princes stadium. The plane, a Bombardier Global 7500, touched down in France just after 3.30 p.m local time on Tuesday (10.30 a.m. ET).
Messi, wearing a shirt that said “This is Paris,” waved to fans upon his arrival.
Messi’s father, Jorge, who acts as the player’s agent, was asked by reporters at Barcelona’s El Prat airport if his son will sign for PSG.
“Yes,” he replied.
Asked who was at fault for Messi leaving Barcelona, Jorge Messi said: “Find out at the club.”
Sources have told ESPN that PSG’s contract offer for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will see him earn more than PSG and Brazil star Neymar, Messi’s former teammate at Barca. Sources added Messi will stay at Hotel Le Royal Monceau, the same location Neymar stayed when he completed his world record €222m move to PSG in 2017.
Messi’s contract with Barca expired on June 30, and despite attempts to keep the club’s all-time leading scorer, the deal could not be completed due to financial constraints. A tearful Messi said at a news conference on Sunday that he had wanted to remain at Barca and agreed to a 50% wage cut, but the club had no room to maneuver because of their failure to offload other players in time and reduce their high wage bill.
Messi’s proposed five-year deal at Barcelona meant the club’s wage bill stood at 110% of their revenue. Their spending cap with LaLiga has dropped from over €600 million in 2019-20 to an expected €200m for the coming season, which made it impossible to register the new deal, even with a pay cut.
Messi admitted he had received several calls from clubs since the news broke that he would not continue his 21-year association with Barca.
“[PSG] is one possibility,” Messi said on Sunday. “There’s nothing closed at the moment, but we’re talking about a lot of things. After Barca’s statement, a lot of clubs showed an interest. There’s nothing final but, of course, there are talks.”
Asked about the prospect of joining a rival, Messi added: “There is no doubt that I will go to a team that will compete with Barca. I didn’t want to leave, but I have to. And I want to keep winning. That’s my mentality. I want to win.”
Following Messi’s farewell, Barca won the Joan Gamper Trophy with an impressive 3-0 victory over Juventus.