Lionel Messi 'ready to fight for all the trophies' after being presented by PSG

Argentine star has joined the French club on a two-year deal following his shock exit from Barcelona

Lionel Messi has said his will to win is as strong as ever as the Argentine forward was presented to the media on Wednesday for the first time since signing for Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi completed his free transfer move to PSG on Tuesday after signing a two-year contract, with the option of a third, worth a reported €25 million a year. The Argentine superstar was expected to sign a new five-year contract at Barcelona but the deal collapsed due to the club's inability to meet La Liga's financial fair play regulations, despite Messi agreeing to a 50 per cent pay cut.

Just days after hosting an emotional press conference to confirm his exit from Barcelona, Messi was presented as a PSG player at the Parc des Princes. After a few words from PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Messi addressed the media and answered questions.

"First of all I want to thank the president for his words - I'm very happy," Messi, 34, said. "You know my exit from Barcelona was a hard moment after so many years it was a difficult change after so much time.

"But the moment I arrived here I feel very happy and I want to begin training and I wanted it to be a quick signing. I'm enjoying my time in Paris since the first minute my family and I arrived - my only will now is to begin training and I want to work with the staff and teammates and begin this new moment of my life.

"I'm so happy to be here. I have a will to play and I still want to play and win as much as I wanted to at the first moment of my career. This club is ready to fight for all the trophies, this is my goal: to keep growing, keep winning titles and that's why I've come here to this club. I hope we can make it happen.

"I want to thank Paris, it's been crazy. I'm sure I'm going to enjoy my time with this team and we are going to fight for the aims of the club."

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner arrived for his press conference joined by his wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, and their three sons who all wore PSG shirts. Outside, thousands of supporters packed the area surrounding the Parc des Princes and chanted Messi's name.

"I'm very grateful to the people in the street," Messi said. "I was in Barcelona when the press told me about that. I've seen things from Spain and the people were already outside in Paris and it was incredible to see them outside in the streets.

"I am grateful and want to thank them and now I really want to see them in the city and in the stadium. It will be an incredible year and we are going to enjoy this."

PSG have enjoyed a remarkably successful summer when it comes to free transfers. In addition to Messi, the French club have signed Italy's No 1 goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma - last month named Euro 2020 player of the tournament - Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, and former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

Messi will be reunited with his former Barcelona teammate Neymar, who joined PSG in 2017 for a world record €222m, as well as join forces with Kylian Mbappe - should the French forward stay and extend his contract.

"Neymar and I know each other very well," Messi said. "I hope we will be stronger together and with all our teammates."

Messi admitted that the Brazilian forward, alongside a number of his international teammates, had been in contact in recent days to convince him to make the move to the French capital.

"[Angel] Di Maria, [Leandro] Parades, I know all of the teammates in the dressing room, we had contact and Neymar of course did a lot and was important in my decision," he said.

Should Mbappe stay, PSG will possess arguably the most fearsome attack in world football. But with one-year left on his deal and having reportedly told PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino that he was not interested in an extension, there remains the possibility that the World Cup winner could leave this summer.

Messi's arrival could persuade Mbappe to commit his future to PSG, and Al-Khelaifi believes there are now "no excuses" for the 22-year-old not to sign new terms.

On Messi's move to PSG, Al-Khelaifi said: "This is an amazing and historic day for the club, for the football world and it is a fantastic moment for us.

"Everybody knows Leo. The only football player to win the Ballon d'Or six times. He makes football magic, beautiful and he's a winner.

"When we started here on day one 10 years ago, people asked what will they do with their project. We are very proud of where we are today.

"There was a great desire on both sides to make this happen."

Updated: August 11th 2021, 10:26 AM
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