Lionel Messi joined star-packed Paris St Germain on Tuesday after leaving Barcelona, the club where he had begun and expected to end his career.
Messi, a six-times winner of the Ballon d’Or for Europe’s best football player, signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year, the club said in a statement on its website.
According to Reuters, the move will add the Argentine, one of the best players of his generation, to an already formidable PSG attack that includes Brazil’s Neymar and French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe.
“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain,” PSG quoted Messi as saying. “I am determined to help build something special for the club and the fans, and I am looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch at the Parc des Princes.”
The arrival of Barcelona’s record scorer, with 672 goals, will boost Qatari-owned PSG’s ambitions to win the prestigious, and lucrative, European Champions League for the first time.
PSG wasted little time in targeting Messi after the heavily indebted Catalan club made clear it could not afford to keep him because of La Liga’s financial fair play rules.
Crowds of supporters thronged to the club’s Parc des Princes stadium, chanting and setting off smoke flares.
“It’s going to be mad. There’s a legend arriving, after all,” said supporter Florent Chauveau.
Messi arrived in Paris on a private jet earlier in the day with his wife and three children, waving to hundreds of supporters gathered outside the airport before being whisked to a private hospital for a medical. He later waved to dozens of fans who had assembled beneath the balcony of his hotel room.