Monday, July 15, 2024

Paris Saint-Germain | A royal reception in Paris for Lionel Messi

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Virginia Whitehead
Virginia Whitehead
"Pop culture maven. Unapologetic student. Avid introvert. Gamer. Problem solver. Tv fanatic."

(Paris) Messi is Paris. The Argentine star arrived in Paris on Tuesday, where hundreds of fans welcomed the man who is now a player at Paris Saint-Germain, with the aim of taking the club into a new sporting and economic dimension.

Alexis Huntung and Fabian Marchesini
France media agency

Arriving at Le Bourget Airport, the striker, dressed in the “Here is Paris” shirt, with smiles from the window, greeted the fans who cheered for him.

At the same time, PSG posted on social media a short 13-second video filled with references to the striker’s career, such as his six Golden Balls and the Argentine flag.

Messi, 34, will be officially registered at Paris Saint-Germain after completing his medical at the American Hospital in Neuilly, where he went in the middle of the afternoon.

It will be presented to the press on Wednesday at 11 a.m. (9 a.m. GMT), in the Parc des Princes, at the conclusion of a sequence that neither he nor Paris Saint-Germain could have imagined, at the start of summer.

“It would hurt to see him in another shirt,” Andres Iniesta, his former teammate, told AFP from Japan.

“It was everything. He is a player beyond the team. I have never seen a player like him before and I think I will never see another,” continued the player who won the Champions League four times with the Argentine.

As he was preparing to take off for Paris, at the beginning of the afternoon, a giant painting of “Pulga” was loosened from the walls of Camp Nou, the stadium where he began writing his legend.

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“Madness Messi”

Meanwhile, Paris rolled out the Argentine red carpet, at Le Bourget as well as at the Parc des Princes, where fans began arriving in the morning.

“It only happens once in a lifetime. This is one of the biggest transfers in history,” said Johlan Slama, a BTS student, who came with a friend in front of the Parisian enclosure.

Messimania has taken over Paris since the player realized on Sunday that signing at PSG was a “possibility”.

And the Parisians do not get away with it either: “He is the strongest player in the world. I am excited and happy to have him in our team,” said Gianluigi Donnarumma, the European champion, the Italian goalkeeper, in an interview with Sky Italia.

“Reuniting again,” Neymar wrote on Instagram, who rubbed his shoulders with Messi at Barcelona between 2013 and 2017.

Screenshots from Neymar’s Instagram account

With Kylian Mbappé, if he were to stay, ‘Ney’ and ‘Leo’ would form one of the most powerful attacking trios in history, reminiscent of ‘MSN’ in the Barcelona era, along with Luis Suarez.

The French press reported Messi a contract of at least two years, with a net annual salary of close to 40 million euros, and the consequent signing bonus.

Such bonuses would put him on the level of Neymar (36 million euros), the highest-paid player in the history of French football.

Mbappe question

On Sunday, Messi dedicated the last weekend as a free player for Barcelona. He declared his love for the Blaugrana shirt in tears. When asked about the responsibility for this divorce, his father Jorge Messi replied curtly Tuesday: “Watch it with the club.”


Jorge Messi

“I never imagined my farewell because the truth is I didn’t think about it,” Messi told him, revealing that he had offered to cut his salary in half so he could stay.

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But Barcelona gave up on extending his huge contract, which expired in June, which put a huge risk to his bloodless finances.

The opportunity was very good for PSG, whose wealthy Qatari owner QSI is always seeking stars to develop its brand.

The financial strength of QSI and the relaxation of UEFA’s financial fair play rules made it a process that no one could have imagined at the start of the summer.

In Paris he will find players close to them, starting with Neymar, but also Angel Di Maria, with whom he just won the Copa America with Argentina.

Their goal: to win the Champions League, the paramount goal set by QSI, who is waiting to lift this trophy that Messi has already won four times.

With or without Mbappe? In Spain, the hypothesis of seeing him go in the opposite direction, in the direction of Real Madrid, is gaining momentum: “It is possible,” AS daily reported on Tuesday.

The case of the French striker, at the end of the contract in June 2022, remains unresolved. But the image, in the welcome video broadcast by Paris Saint-Germain, of the Argentine flag between the shirts of Neymar and Mbappe, is it evidence that he will remain?

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