Lionel Messi has reached an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) over a transfer to the French soccer club, sports newspapers L’Equipe and RMC said on their websites, adding he was due to arrive in Paris in the coming hours.
Messi, the 34-year-old record goalscorer for both Argentina and Barcelona, is one of the greatest players of all time.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner, wept on Sunday as he bade farewell to his boyhood team, after the club said it could no longer afford to keep him, blaming La Liga’s fair play rules.
He won 35 trophies at Barcelona after joining the club aged 13. His trophy haul includes four Champions League and 10 La Liga titles.
Messi’s arrival is expected to make PSG even more obvious favourites to reclaim a French title they missed out on last season to Lille.
But the arrival of Messi, Barca’s all-time record goalscorer with 682 in 17 years in the first team, will boost the club’s ambitions to win a first ever Champions League.
This summer PSG have already added veteran Spanish defender Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid and Italy’s Donnarumma, the star of Euro 2020.
They have also signed Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, snatching the Dutchman from under the noses of Barcelona, and spent €60 million on Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi, who scored on his PSG league debut at the weekend.
An added attraction in moving to Paris is that coach Mauricio Pochettino, like Messi, started his career at Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario, Argentina.
Messi could be unveiled to supporters on Saturday, when PSG play at home to Strasbourg and a full house of nearly 48,000 will be allowed into the Parc des Princes for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck 18 months ago.