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Messi joins PSG on two-year contract after leaving Barcelona

Lionel Messi has signed with Paris Saint-Germain after being unable to renew his contract with Barcelona.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived in Paris on Tuesday afternoon to complete a medical and seal his move to the French club on a two-year deal – with an option for a third – worth £25m per year after tax, plus bonuses.

Messi will receive a £25m signing-on fee as part of the move and will wear the No. 30 shirt for PSG, which was the number he wore on his Barcelona debut in 2003.

The 34-year-old was set to extend his 21-year stay at Barcelona by signing a new five-year deal this summer, but the club announced on Thursday that due to “financial and structural obstacles”  the contract could not be fulfilled.

On signing for PSG, Messi said: “I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain. Everything about the club matches my football ambitions.

PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi added: “I am delighted that Lionel Messi has chosen to join Paris Saint-Germain and we are proud to welcome him and his family to Paris.

“He has made no secret of his desire to continue competing at the very highest level and winning trophies, and naturally our ambition as a club is to do the same.

“The addition of Leo to our world-class squad continues a very strategic and successful transfer window for the club.

“Led by our outstanding coach and his staff, I look forward to the team making history together for our fans all around the world.”

He had 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.

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 had two other options after leaving Barcelona last week but has now joined 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 have been 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.

Messi said he did not want to leave Barcelona in an emotional farewell news conference on Sunday.

Messi was in tears as he received a standing ovation in his final Barcelona press conference to announce the end of his 21 years with the club.

Barcelona confirmed Messi’s departure on Thursday night, the same day he returned to Catalonia following his post-Copa America holiday.

Messi had travelled to Barcelona expecting to agree on the details of the announcement of his new five-year deal, and he confirmed he offered to reduce his wages by 50 per cent.

“This year, my family and I were convinced we were going to stay at home, that’s what we all wanted more than anything,” said Messi.

“We’d always made this our own, we were at home. We thought we would be staying here in Barcelona. But today, we have to say goodbye to all of this.”

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