Leo Messi left Barcelona on Tuesday morning on a private jet to Paris where he will undergo a medical exam before signing a two-year deal at PSG, with the possibility to extend for a third.
Messi will earn $35 million each season, with PSG also paying him a $35 million signing bonus. Previously, Messi was set to sign a five-year contract with FC Barcelona, but the Catalonian club couldn’t meet the terms of their initial deal because of its financial troubles.
Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, also received last-minute offers from Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, but opted to join PSG instead. The Argentinean superstar spent 21 years at Barcelona, joining the club’s youth teams as a 13-year old back in 2000.
“Financial and structural obstacles” were cited by Barcelona as the reasons behind their failure in securing Messi’s contract at Camp Nou. In a press conference on Sunday, Messi said “he did everything he was asked to,” including lowering his earnings by 50%. The forward also revealed through tears that he and his family weren’t “ready to leave Barcelona” this summer.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 10, 2021
Apart from luring Messi away from Barcelona, PSG also signed a host of other stars, including former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos. The club also convinced Achraf Hakimi to leave Inter, and beat out strong competition around the continent to sign Gini Wijnaldum from Liverpool and Gigi Donnarumma from AC Milan.
Bookies now have PSG as their favorites to win the Champions League, beating Man City in the odds race. The Paris giants are now at +200 to lift their first Champions League trophy next year. 2021 finalists City come second at +350, with Bayern Munich third at +600. Liverpool stands at +700 while defending champion Chelsea is regarded as an improbable winner at +900.
Messi is expected to undergo a medical exam in Paris on Tuesday afternoon, then sign his contract with PSG on Wednesday. Messi’s wife, Antonela, and the couple’s three sons also traveled to the French capital. Thousands of fans were waiting at the airport in Paris to welcome the Messis.
— Reshad Rahman (@ReshadRahman_) August 10, 2021