Barcelona confirmed the departure of the legendary forward on Thursday, drawing echoes of despair from fans around the world.
Ex-FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi has reportedly agreed to join Qatari-owned club Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year contract, with an option for a third, shortly after an announcement broke that he will no longer play for the Spanish club.
Though an official announcement is yet to be made, the news is expected to break out at an event in Paris on Tuesday, according to several news reports.
Lionel #Messi has chosen to join #PSG – 2 years + 1 on option for the contract – the club is looking to wrap up the signing over the weekend, and is set to meet with Jorge Messi in the next few hours.
— Mohamed Bouhafsi (@mohamedbouhafsi) August 6, 2021
PSG sources told The Athletic on Saturday that the deal “was not yet signed off but everyone involved in the transfer was convinced it was going ahead”.
French journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi said in a tweet that the Argentinean player has chosen PSG as his next destination on a two-year deal with an extra optional year. He also added that the player’s father was set to meet PSG on Friday with the club
looking to wrap up the signing “over the weekend.”
The legendary forward could not continue with Barcelona after “financial and structural obstacles” made it hard to renew his contract, bidding farewell to his long journey at the Spanish club.
News of his departure came as a shock to many, especially for his devoted football fans, since the star was expected to re-sign after his deal expired in June.
“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 Liga regulations),” the Catalan club said.
“As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.”
But if there is one club that will not have financial obstacles signing, it is defiantly the Qatari-owned PSG.
According to various reports, the French club contacted the 34-year-old’s representatives shortly after news of his departure broke out to explore a potential deal in a move that could reunite him with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar.
The Athletic also claimed that Messi contacted potential new coach Mauricio Pochettino directly to discuss a move.
“Everything escalated between 9pm and midnight in France,” Adam Crafton explained to Forbes, adding that PSG were already “exploring avenues with commercial partners to maximise opportunities” while having calculated “that signing Messi brings more in than it costs.”
To further confirm the speculations, Josep Pederol said on the popular El Chiringuito TV program that Messi was “very close” to joining the Qatari-owned club.
Club President Nasser Al-Khelaifi made a strong attempt last summer to sign Messi when he was close to leaving Barcelona. However, this summer seems to give him yet another chance to welcome the legend.