Lionel Messi has arrived in Paris where he will sign a £1million-per-week, two-year deal with Ligue 1 giants, PSG after leaving cash-strapped Barcelona.
The 34-year-old was pictured at Barcelona airport alongside his wife Antonella and their three children, Thiago, eight, Mateo, five, and Ciro, three, earlier on Tuesday. Antonella, 33, later posted a selfie alongside her husband as they sat on their private jet waiting to fly to France according to Daily Mail.
But the Argentine star, who was wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Ici c’est Paris’ which translates to ‘Here is Paris’ and is widely used on PSG merchandise and branding, was pictured waving to the supporters who had gathered to see Messi’s arrival at Paris–Le Bourget Airport.
PSG have posted a teasing clip to their Twitter account, showing six Ballon d’Ors – the amount Messi has won – in front of the Eiffel Tower and a space in the dressing room between Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who the Argentine is likely to play alongside in attack.
Sources at the French club confirmed Messi’s lawyers had been poring over the contract proposal since Sunday but gave it their approval this morning.
The final points of negotiation were understood to have concerned the six-time Ballon d’Or winners image rights, as well as the breakdown of his wages and various bonuses.
Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano confirmed in the hours following Messi’s arrival in Paris that he had completed his medical and would move to his hotel to complete formalities over his big-money move, with the player expected to be unveiled as a new PSG player tomorrow morning at 11am, local time.
Messi’s annual salary will be in the region of €63m (£53m), putting his earnings at just over £1m a week. He will sit in France’s highest tax bracket of 45 per cent, leaving his take-home pay at around £550,000 per week.
On Sunday, Messi said a tearful goodbye to his club of 21 years which he had joined as a child, being signed to the academy and moving from his native Argentina.
He scored 672 goals in 778 appearances but Barcelona were unable to hang onto him after falling foul of financial fair play rules set by Spanish league La Liga.
Barcelona blamed the league but are reportedly in debt to the tune of more than £700 million, meaning that Messi’s contract – even with a 50 per cent pay cut – wasn’t in line with the regulations.
New PSG team-mate Neymar has appeared to confirm Messi will be joining him in the French capital as he posted a photo of them together alongside the caption ‘back together’.
Messi and Neymar have remained close friends ever since the latter left Barcelona for PSG in 2017. The Brazilian star has spoken frequently about his desire to play with the Argentine again one day.
Neymar and Messi spent four years together at the Nou Camp. They won two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Reys and a Champions League.
They formed a deadly partnership with Luis Suarez but the MSN trio was broken up when the Brazil star decided to join PSG in the summer of 2017 for a record €222million (£187m) fee.
His pending arrival comes at a time when French clubs are reeling from failed TV deals which has impacted revenue.
It is hoped Messi’s presence will stimulate new negotiations with interested TV companies to benefit clubs across the French league.