From unthinkable to reality: Messi joins PSG

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Lionel Messi unveiled at PSG after he agreed a two-year deal
Lionel Messi unveiled at PSG after he agreed a two-year deal

For football purists, the thought of Lionel Messi not finishing his career at Barcelona was unthinkable. Even football agents and clubs knew that a move from his boyhood Catalan club could only be a dream but again, never say never.

As Messi arrived Paris to a rapturous welcome from obviously elated Paris Saint Germain fans, the world stood still for arguably the greatest football mankind has ever seen.

The diminutive Argentine, who has been at Barcelona since the age of 13, got a shocker days ago when the La Liga announced that an agreement to keep him, even as a free agent, would not happen given the financial mess it has found itself.

The loss, however, is not for Barcelona alone but for La Liga. I can imagine that football fans across the world are dumping their La Liga TV plans for that of Ligue 1. Prior Messi’s arrival at PSG, not many cared to watch the live league matches of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, even though they are great players in their own right.

With Lionel Messi comes a new buzz and a gust of enthusiasm. Even those who get into the rivalry between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could not help but scurry for news after news of Messi impending move.

Just as he started in Barcelona, Messi has been handed the number 30 shirt. A number that has stirred loads of jokes, many of which Ligue 1 defenders would not like to hear. Messi will expectedly score shedloads of goals and will give fans memories that will linger forever.

Shortly after he signed a two-year deal on Tuesday, he said, “I am impatient to start a new chapter of my career in Paris. The club and its vision are in perfect harmony with my ambitions,” said the Argentina star.

“I know how talented the players and staff are here. I am determined to build, alongside them, something great for the club and for the fans. I can’t wait to set foot on the Parc des Princes pitch.”

While Messi is talking of doing more magic on the pitch, social media is going off at an uncontrollably pace. Millions of tweets and posts are being posted about this unbelievable move to PSG.

Even PSG rivals likes Monaco are in on it. Messi shirts top all other shirts on sport websites as demands are off the roof. It is true, Messi is now a PSG player.

Reacting to the move PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi said: “I am delighted that Lionel Messi has chosen to join Paris St-Germain and we are proud to welcome him to Paris, with his family.

“He did not hide his desire to continue to evolve at the highest level and to win trophies. The ambition of the club is of course identical.

“The addition of Leo to our world-class team confirms the relevance and success of our recruitment. Together with our great coach and his staff, I look forward to seeing our team make history for all of our supporters around the world.”

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.

The striker has won the Ballon d’Or a record six times and lifted 35 trophies with the Catalan club.

He becomes 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.