In Focus

Lionel Messi on PSG, Neymar and winning the Champions League

What the Argentine superstar said at his first press conference in Paris

Lionel Messi has spoken about his new career goals after being unveiled as a Paris Saint-Germain player. The Argentine arrived in the French capital yesterday to sign a two-year contract with PSG and today he held his first press conference at Le Parc des Princes.

PSG fans gathered outside the club’s stadium to welcome their new hero. There was a “rapturous reception” for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, Goal reports. “Flares, fireworks, drums, chants, you name it!”

He is not the only high-profile signing PSG have made this summer. Head coach Mauricio Pochettino, who like Messi is also Argentine, has recruited global stars such as Spanish centre-back Sergio Ramos and Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. 

Messi will reportedly earn £960,000 per week and wear the No.30 shirt at PSG - the same number he wore when he began his professional career with Barcelona. And alongside his ex-Barca team-mate Neymar and France striker Kylian Mbappe, the trio will now form one of the most potent front threes in world football.

The 34-year-old won the Uefa Champions League four times with Barca, while PSG are yet to lift Europe’s major club trophy. The French club reached the final in 2020, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich, and last season lost in the semi-finals to Manchester City. 

Revealing his ambitions for his new club, here’s what Messi had to say in his first press conference in Paris… 

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Lionel Messi

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Lionel Messi

Stephane De Sakutin/AFP via Getty Images

Why he chose PSG

“It was a difficult change after so long a time. But the moment I arrived here, I felt very happy and I really want to begin the training sessions. I want it to be quick. My only will now is to begin the training sessions. I want to work with the staff and team-mates and begin this new moment of my life.”

Pochettino and the PSG staff

“The whole dressing room and the staff had an influence on my decision. When we saw it was possible, the first thing we did was talk to them and Pochettino. We’ve known each other for a long time and we are close, in a way. It’s been very easy since the very beginning. All the squad and the staff did a lot to help me choose this club.”

Hunger for trophies

“I have this will to play. I am really impatient. I still want to win, as I did the first moment of my career. I feel this club is ready to fight for all the trophies. This is my goal, I want to keep growing and keep winning titles and that is why I came to this club. I know my goals and PSG’s goals are the same and want to be bigger and bigger.”

European glory

“My goal and my dream is to win the Champions League once more. It’s not easy. Sometimes you can have the best team in the world and you don’t win the Champions League - this is football. Paris has been so close to a victory in the Champions League. In the best competition, the best teams are playing. It’s very difficult to win it. You need a very united squad. This dressing room is very united but you also need luck. It’s a very special competition and that’s why it’s so beautiful and so important - we all want to win this competition.”

PSG fans gather outside the club’s Parc des Princes stadium

PSG fans gather outside the club’s Parc des Princes stadium

Bertrand Guay/AFP via Getty Images

Playing in Ligue 1

“I’ve been following, and I know Ligue 1 because of my friends. This league has been growing a lot... it’s more competitive, all the teams are getting stronger because they want to beat PSG.”

Star-studded squad 

“I’ve got some friends here in the dressing room. When you see the squad you really want to play with them. We had contact and Neymar, of course, did a lot and was important. It’s really crazy and I’m happy about that. Sharing the day to day life with them and all the squad. Really there are some amazing transfers here and the team is incredible. I’m going to be playing with the best players.”

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe

Getty Images

Playing alongside Neymar again

“Neymar is a great player, best of the world in his position. I wanted him at Barca, now it has turned around, and I’m here with him. He’s a spectacular kid - dressing room full of magnificent players.”

The possibility of facing Barcelona at the Camp Nou

“Barcelona is my home - I have been there since I was a kid and I’ve lived so many things there. I don’t know if we are going to face each other - it would be very nice to go back to Barcelona. It will be very strange to play at home there in Barcelona with another shirt but it can happen and we will see.”

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