This morning marked Lionel Messi’s first formal appearance as a Paris Saint-Germain player, as the Argentine was joined by club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in front of the press. The former Barcelona man had touched down in Paris yesterday afternoon, passing his medical and putting pen to paper on a two-year deal with an option for an extra season.
The 34-year-old notably discussed his anticipation at joining the club and his objectives for the years to come, while Al-Khelaifi notably replied to Kylian Mbappé’s earlier comments regarding the competitiveness of the PSG squad.
Messi on his Barcelona departure
Everyone knows how difficult leaving Barcelona was for me, it was difficult to imagine changing after such a long time. With everything that’s happened to me in the last week, it’s been difficult emotional and sudden, and at the same time very quick. The PSG management had positioned themselves from the very first day, even though it wasn’t easy given the circumstances. I’ll always be grateful for the love Barcelona have shown, it’s home for me. I experienced a lot there, from my childhood. We’ll see if we meet in the Champions League – on the one hand, it would be great, but on the other it would be strange to play at home again under a different shirt.
On arriving in Paris
I’m very happy to be here. […] I still have ambition, just like the club. We’re ready to try and win it all. That’s my objective, to grow and win titles.
It’s fantastic here, there are great players in every position – with some spectacular signings as well as the players who are already in place. I’m going to play with the best, and that’s amazing. I think we have a top team, beyond the players who have come in this summer.
On the objectives this season
We all know how difficult the Champions League is, PSG do as well. We’ll need a strong and unified team, which I think is the case, at least looking from the outside. The Champions League is a special competition, it’s what makes it so beautiful and important. I’ll say it now: my dream is to be able to lift the Champions League trophy again.
On who he knows at PSG
I already know some of the people here – Neymar, Di María, Paredes… I’ve already been speaking to some in the dressing room, it’s something that influenced my decision.
I know [Mauricio Pochettino], there is this natural proximity given that we’re both Argentinian. Things unfolded perfectly from the start, it’s something which also played a role.
On Ligue 1
I’ve followed the league, it’s progressed well in the last few years, notably thanks to PSG. It makes it more competitive. The rivals are progressing too and they want to beat Paris. It’ll be a new stadium and new supporters, but I’m very happy to discover it all.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi on Mbappé’s future
Kylian had come out and said that he wanted a competitive team. I would say that this one is, now. There’s no more excuses to do anything else now.
NAK on FFP
We know the rules of Financial Fair Play and we’ve always respected the regulations, if we’ve signed him it’s because we knew we could. […] What the media need to focus is not just the negatives, but also the positives that he will bring.