LIONEL MESSI has finally been announced as a Paris Saint-Germain player.
After an action-packed day that saw Messi arrive in the French capital in front of hundreds of supporters, the club has confirmed his signing.
Messi, 34, completes a blockbuster reunion with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar after his shock exit from Barca.
He will sign a two-year deal with the club, with the option of a third, in a deal that is expected to net him a total of £92.6MILLION over two years.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner will get a £25m signing on-fee on top of his take-home wages of £650,000 per week.
The 34-year-old told the PSG website: “I am impatient to start a new chapter of my career in Paris.
“The club and its vision are in perfect harmony with my ambitions.
“I know how talented the players and staff are here.
“I am determined to build, something great for the club and for the fans.
“I can’t wait to set foot on the Parc des Princes pitch.”
It appears PSG, who had organised a press conference for 10am on Wednesday morning, were sparked into an announcement after images of Messi in a full PSG kit were leaked online.
Within minutes, PSG had put out their own footage and stories via their own website and social media channels.
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Timeline: Messi joins PSG
- 10.56am: Barcelona begin to remove a mural of Messi at the Nou Camp ahead of his departure.
- 11.00am: Rumours on social media suggest Messi will fly from Barcelona to Paris on Tuesday to complete a free transfer.
- 11.53am: Messi’s father Jorge reportedly confirms the player will sign for PSG on Tuesday.
- 12.00pm: Dozens of PSG fans arrive at Le Bourget airport in Paris to greet Messi after hearing the news.
- 12.21pm: Messi and his family arrive at El Prat airport in Barcelona to fly to the French capital.
- 12.23pm: PSG fans and the press begin to arrive at the club’s Parc des Princes stadium.
- 1.07pm: Dozens of police officers are spotted at Le Bourget as numbers grow to welcome Messi.
- 1.53pm: Messi’s wife Antonela Roccuzzo shares a photo of the couple on a plane heading to Paris.
- 2.20pm: Brazilian superstar Neymar announces Messi will sign for PSG on Instagram.
- 2.40pm: PSG confirms the signing of Messi.
- 2.57pm: Messi waves to fans at Le Bourget.
- 3.29pm: PSG confirm a press conference will be held on Wednesday, August 11 at 10am.
- 3.32pm: A huge motorcade of police cars and motorbikes escort Messi across Paris
- 8.48pm: Leaked images and video circulates of Messi in a full PSG kit doing kick-ups at the Parc des Princes
- 9.18pm: PSG release their own video of Messi in a full kit on Instagram
- 9.24pm: Messi is finally ANNOUNCED as a PSG player and says: ‘I am impatient to start a new chapter of my career in Paris.’
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi added: “I am delighted that Lionel Messi has chosen to join Paris Saint-Germain and we are proud to welcome him to Paris, with his family.
“He did not hide his desire to continue to evolve at the highest level and to win trophies.
“The ambition of the club is of course identical.
“The addition of Leo to our world-class team confirms the relevance and success of our recruitment.
“Together with our great coach and his staff, I look forward to seeing our team make history for all of our supporters around the world.”
Passionate PSG supporters had arrived early at Paris-Le Bourget airport on Tuesday morning to catch a glimpse of the footballing legend.
There were also plenty of fans at the club’s Parc des Princes stadium and on the streets of Paris as Messi appeared in the French capital wearing an ‘Ici c’est Paris’ – This is Paris – t-shirt.
The four-time Champions League winner was seen waving to his adoring supporters from a window.
A later video emerged showing him being convoyed around Paris with a massive police escort that looked more fitting for a president or king than a footballer.
Jorge had reportedly confirmed the transfer on Tuesday morning, telling the press: “Leo’s going to sign with PSG today.”
Messi’s wife Antonela Roccuzzo then posted a snap of her alongside her husband on board a private jet.
Fans also turned up at Le Bourget airport on Sunday after rumours the player was due to land in France circulated on social media.
But they finally got their chance to say bonjour to Messi after days of waiting.
Messi said adios to his adoring Barcelona supporters in an emotional press conference on Sunday.
Speculation of a shock U-turn was quashed when the Spanish giants began removing a mural of their former captain at the Nou Camp.
Cash-strapped Barca released Messi after a salary cap ensured the LaLiga club couldn’t offer him a new deal, despite the player wanting to stay.
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Spanish law ensured Messi couldn’t play for free, with new contracts required to be a minimum of 50 per cent of the previous wage.
And another Spanish law will deny Barcelona the chance to retire the player’s famous No10 shirt following his departure.
Messi also gave an emotional farewell press conference in Barcelona.
Fighting back tears, a heartbroken Messi said: “I was convinced to stay here at Barcelona.
“This is my home, our home.
“I wanted to stay at Barca and it was the plan… and today I’ve to say goodbye after my entire life here.”
He added: “My new contract was done. All done. I wanted to stay and when I come back from holidays, it was done.
“Then it’s how [Joan] Laporta explained it. At the last minute, with everything with La Liga, it couldn’t happen.
“I’m really sad because I didn’t want to leave this club. I love Barcelona and I wanted to stay, my contract was ready.
“I did everything in my possibility to stay.”
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