Messi Sets Sights On Champions League Success With PSG
Lionel Messi dashed any thoughts of him taking it easy in his later years as he set his sights on leading new club Paris St Germain (PSG) to its first Champions League title at his presentation in France on Wednesday.
Messi, 34, had agreed to stay at former club Barcelona after his deal expired at the end of June, only for the Spanish club to admit they could no longer afford him last week. He signed a two year deal with an option for a third with the PSG on Tuesday.
PSG have conquered the French Ligue 1 since the investment of owners, the Qatar Sports Investment, in 2011. However, they have never won the Champions League, while Messi has won it four times, the last one coming in 2015.
“That’s why I am here (to win trophies). It’s an ambitious club,” Messi said. “You can see they’re ready to fight for everything.”
“My dream is to win another Champions League, and I think this is the ideal place to be to do that.”
Messi will join former Barcelona team mate Neymar in Paris. The Brazilian left Catalonia for the French capital in a world record 222 million euro ($259.94 million) deal in 2017. Neymar since then never hid his desire to link up with his close friend Messi once again on the pitch.
They will now line up together again, with Kylian Mbappe as the third member of a strong frontline.
“To be able to play with the likes of Neymar and Mbappe is insane,” Messi said. “They’ve made so many good signings, I’m really happy and can’t wait to get started.”
The Argentine said he did not know when he would be able to make his debut given he has not played since winning the Copa America with his country last month.
“I’m coming back from holiday. I need a bit of a pre-season and get myself going. Hopefully debuting can be soon but I can’t give you a date. It’s up to the coaches,” Messi added.
Thousands of excited fans had gathered outside the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, banging on drums, waving flags and chanting Messi’s name to welcome the legendary Argentine forward.
“My arrival here was both surprising and crazy,” Messi said. “It was the icing on the cake as if I needed any more convincing. I’m grateful to the fans, it was crazy to see people on the streets in Paris without the deal even being done last week. I was stunned.”
Messi on Sunday wept as he told Barcelona fans he was leaving his childhood club, and admitted that while he is sad, he is looking forward to the new challenge and hoped they would understand his decision making.
“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 added.“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.”
“I don’t doubt that PSG’s objectives is to win and grow. It would be nice on the one hand to face them (Barcelona) in the Champions League, especially with fans. But on the other, it would be strange to go back to my home in another team’s shirt – but that’s football.”