Lionel Messi agrees to join French side PSG on a two-year deal

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 08: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on May 08, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi has agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year contract.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner is travelling to Paris on Tuesday afternoon to seal his move to the French club on a deal worth £25m per year after tax, plus bonuses.

Messi had two other options after leaving Barcelona last week but has opted to move to PSG, who will have the option of extending his stay in the French capital by a third year.

Messi – who will receive a £25m signing-on fee as part of the move – was set to extend his 21-year stay at Barcelona by signing a new five-year deal this summer.

However, the club announced on Thursday that “financial and structural obstacles” meant the deal could not be completed, meaning Messi left as a free agent.

The 34-year-old said he wanted to stay at Barcelona and “did everything” he could to remain at the club, including agreeing to a 50-per-cent wage cut.

Workers in Barcelona remove a huge image of their former player Lionel Messi from the side of the Nou Camp.
Image:Workers in Barcelona remove a huge image of their former player Lionel Messi from the side of the Nou Camp

However, Barcelona are hamstrung by La Liga’s rules on club spending and even halving Messi’s pay was not enough to ensure he remained at the Nou Camp.

Messi is now set to join PSG, with their potential to compete for major trophies – including the Champions League – understood to be a key factor in his decision to move to France.

Messi is also believed to be keen to reunite with Neymar, with whom he won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys and the Champions League during their time together at Barcelona.

Asked about a move to PSG at his farewell press conference last weekend, Messi said: “That is one possibility, to reach those heights.

“I had a lot of calls, a lot of interested clubs. At the moment, nothing is closed, but we are talking about a lot of things.”

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