Argentina captain and former Barcelona striker Lionel Messi may have now officially moved to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on a two-year contract however, there remains an interesting story behind the move which saw one of the greatest footballer on planet ending his 21-year stint with the club he was associated with.
The stoy beging around 10pm on Thursday (August 5) when PSG decide to go for Messi even though the news had broken two hours before that the ace striker would end his association with Barcelona.
Significantly, in players’ transfers, the approaches are usually done via intermediaries or agents and the same process was followed by many clubs, who wanted to have Messi in their camp.
However, PSG took a completely different route as the sporting director, Leonardo, made a direct approach to Messi’s father, Jorge, and the player’s lawyers. Moreover, PSG’s President Nasser al-Khelaifi himself joined the talks later that night which is a rare instance.
The PSG Chief had earlier personally got involved in such matters during Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona four years back.
Earlier on Thursday morning, such developments was beyond the imagination of anyone as Messi and his father had travelled back to Barcelona from Ibiza to sign a five-year contract with FC Barcelona as an announcement was scheduled for 8pm.
However, in a major disappointment for Messi, Barcelona’s President Joan Laporta said that La Liga’s salary limit rules makes it impossible for him to join the club.
Soon after, Messi spoke to the PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino, who is also an Argentine. Moreover, what impressed Messi was that the important officials of the PSG had directly approached him and his father way before Barcelona’s denial.
Later, discussions involving Khelaifi, Leonardo, Messi’s father and the player’s lawyers went late into Thursday night and continued all through Friday and finally Messi agreed to join the club for reportedly $75 million annually.
Meanwhile, Messi’s deal, like Neymar’s, has a clause that guarantees him a bonus if the club lifts the Champions League title.
Later on Saturday, PSG’s legal team prepared a formal contract which was soon sent to Messi.
However, during his farewell presser at Barcelona, Messi had denied that a deal with PSG was aleady done which was officially confirmed on Tuesday morning, shortly aftre Messi and his family left the Barcelona airport.
Despite the paer works and other issues took a time of four to five days, celebrations at PSG camp had aleady begun on Friday on Messi’s arrival as Neymar had announced his side that the former Barcelona forward was all set to arrrive.
As per reports, during this period, Neymar had been in constant touch with his former Barcelona teammate and had also convinced him to make the move.