Six time Ballon d’ Or winner, Lionel Messi has expressed his ambition as a Paris-Saint Germain player, stating that his aim is to lift the Champions League once again. The player made this known in his first news conference with members of the press as a Paris-Saint Germain player on Wednesday upon his unveiling at his new club.
The former Barcelona star arrived PSG’s Parc des Princes on Tuesday after passing his medical and agreeing to a 2-year contract with an option of a year extension that will see the Argentine earn between €30-35 million ($35-41m) net a year.
Speaking at his presentation to the press as a PSG’s player, Messi — whose name was chanted amid a loud applause as he took his seat alongside club president Naseer al-khelaifi — spoke about his aim to attain Champions League glory once more, his exit from Barcelona and his excitement at joining Paris.
“My goal and my dream is to win the Champions League once more. I think that we have the team to do it here.
“The squad and coaches here are capable of winning everything, which is my objective. The team here is incredible. There have been some amazing signings. This will be an unbelievable experience for me. I do not know when I will first be able to play and I might need some preseason conditioning first. I really want to begin the training sessions, I really want it to be quick.”
The 34-year-old could not conceal his happiness playing with teammates Neymar and Mbappe, the two most expensive footballers in history and said: “I am very happy. It’s crazy. I’m going to play with the best players in the world, and that’s always good.”
Messi spoke on his departure from Barcelona after a 21-year trophy-laden spell with the La Liga giant and thanked his new club for offering him the place in their team. He also spoke on the possibility of facing Barcelona in the Champions League.
“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,” he said.
“I left Barcelona without knowing where I was going. This week has been hard, quick and emotional. But I am excited about this new stage for my career and my family.
“[PSG] had positioned themselves from the first day, even though it wasn’t easy in these conditions. I want to thank the club for the work it’s done and the welcome I’ve had.
“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 are to win and grow. It would be nice on the one hand to face them in the Champions League, especially with fans, but on the other strange to go back to my home in another team’s shirt — but that’s football.
President of the club, Naseer al-khelaifi expressed his sincere gratitude to every fan of the club as they played a part in bringing the ‘best player’ to PSG. “I am speaking from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to everybody for making this happen. Bringing the best player in the world here. The hard work starts now.”
“This is an amazing and historic day for the club and football world. Leo makes football magic, beautiful … he’s a winner. It’s no secret there was a great desire [between PSG and Messi] to make this happen.”
“We have someone here next to me, he won lots of trophies and I am sure he will bring lots of trophies to the club, with his squad, with his teammates, the best players in the world, and amazing coach, for me he is the best in the world,” he said.
He however commented on Kylian Mbappe’s frequent clamour for a competitive squad saying that the arrival of Lionel Messi has brought in more competition to the team leaving the 23-year-old to the only option of staying in Paris.
“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.”
When asked if the financial implication of Messi’s move to PSG does violate financial fair play rules, Al-Khelaifi said: ” We have always respected financial fair play. We checked with our financial people and knew that we could sign him. What the media need to focus on is not just the negative but also the positives that he will bring.
Lionel Messi — who claimed his first international trophy winning the Copa America early in the Summer — moved to PSG after Barcelona failed to register his 5-year contract due to financial benchmark set by La Liga on salaries; a complication that can’t even be resolved with Messi taking a pay cut.
But his legacies at the club will forever be remembered as he churned out a record 672 goals in 778 appearances for Barcelona, winning 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa Del Rey trophies, clinching the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup 3 times apiece and the Champions League on four occasions.