Messi 'dreaming' of Champions League glory with new club PSG
Footballer Lionel Messi said on Wednesday he was delighted to have signed for French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and that he still had a hunger to win more trophies.
"That's why I am here. It's an ambitious club," Messi told a news conference. "You can see they're ready to fight for everything."
Messi also said he was “ready to work together with teammates so we can succeed”.
📺 The view from outside the Parc! 🔴🔵#PSGxMESSI pic.twitter.com/26oO8CAUPB— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 11, 2021
The 34-year-old Argentine said he was "dreaming" of winning a fifth Champions League after signing a two-year contract with PSG.
"I have said my dream is to win another Champions League and I think I'm in the ideal place to have that chance and to do it," he told reporters.
Messi claimed the last of his European titles with former side Barcelona in 2015, while the Qatari-owned Parisians are yet to clinch the continent's elite club competition.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner wept on Sunday as he told Barcelona fans he was leaving his childhood club.
>> Messi’s tearful departure encapsulates Barcelona’s sad decline
"I'll always be thankful to Barca and their fans. I went there as a boy, and we had some good and bad times," Messi told the news conference on Wednesday.
"The Barca fans knew I'd join a good club, fighting for the Champions League, because they know me, I like to win, I'm a winner and I want to carry on doing that," he added.
Messi: 'It's been a very emotional time for me, it's a life change'
PSG's new superstar conceded he did not know when he would be able to make his French league debut given that he has not played since winning the Copa America with his country last month.
"I'm coming back from holiday, I've been a month off the pitch," he said. "Hopefully debuting can be soon but I can't give you a date. It's up to the coaches."
Icing on the cake
Messi will join former Barca team mate Neymar, who left Catalonia for the French capital in a record 222-million-euro ($259.94 million) deal in 2017.
They will now line up together again, with Kylian Mbappé as the third member of a potent frontline.
"To be able to play with the likes of Neymar and Mbappé is insane. They've made so many good signings, I'm really happy and can't wait to get started," Messi added.
Eyebrows were raised as to how PSG could afford to sign Messi within UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. However, club chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who was sat alongside Messi, insisted the deal was well within their economic scope.
"We are always attentive to Financial Fair Play. It's the first thing we check with the commercial, financial and legal people to see if we can do it before signing someone," he said.
"I think the media need to focus on the positives and not just the negatives of these moves, but what positives [Messi] brings," the PSG chairman added. "He's an unbelievable asset to the club."
🤯 The moment Leo Messi met with the 🔴🔵 fans! #PSGxMESSIpic.twitter.com/x30NhCRQEx— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 11, 2021
Al-Khelaifi's point was backed up by thousands of excited fans who had gathered outside the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, banging on drums, waving flags and chanting Messi's name.
"My arrival here was both surprising and crazy," Messi said. "It was the icing on the cake, as if I needed any more convincing."
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)
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