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Messi: 'Very happy'

Messi: 'Very happy'

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Publish on 08/11 at 12:00 - S. WILLIS

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New Paris Saint-Germain recruit Lionel Messi spoke of his delight at the warmth of his welcome in Paris - but also his impatience to get back to the business of winning trophies, something for which the Argentine still has plenty of hunger - when presented to the press and the fans on Wednesday morning.

There were wild scenes outside the Parc des Princes on Wednesday morning as Paris geared up to welcome newly signed superstar Lionel Messi, and the new Parisian number 30 was clearly touched by the fervour that has surrounded the first change of club in his stellar career.

"I am very happy. Everyone knows how I left Barcelona; it was very hard, after many years there. But as soon as I arrived here, I felt very happy," he declared in the customary soft-spoken manner that has belied a rapacious appetite for victory throughout his career. "I have a lot of enthusiasm. I want things to move quickly - I am so eager to start training, to start this new stage. I would like to thank the president, [sporting director] Leonardo, and the whole club."

Groundwork

The capital club has been in overdrive mode for the past few days, working hard to secure the signature of signatures and organise a welcome befitting the six-time Ballon D'Or and four-time Champions League winner.

"Since the first day Barça released its statement, PSG have positioned themselves. Everything has been very fast, fluid. I want to thank them for the reception," Messi said. "I still have the same enthusiasm and the same desire to win. We are ready to fight for any and all trophies. I want to thank the Parisians - it was a bit crazy when I arrived! It was the icing on the cake, this welcome."

Star power

The Argentine is the fifth recruit of the Parisians' summer transfer window - following on from Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi and Gianluigi Donnarumma - and is clearly pleased by the company he will be keeping in the French capital.

"I am very happy, it's crazy," marvelled Messi. "There have been some spectacular arrivals in addition to the players that were already there. I'm going to play with the best, and that's a nice thing to experience day in, day out."

Old friends

Of course it hasn't hurt that several of his new clubmates are old friends either from Barcelona or the Argentina national team, and the new superstar of French football shouldn't have any trouble feeling at helm right away.

"I'm arriving in a team that is practically complete, beyond the recruits who arrived this summer. My dream is to lift the Champions League again. Obviously, I know people here - Ney, [Angel] Di Maria, [Leandro] Paredes - and that has obviously been a motivation, influencing my decision."

When? Where?

The big question now is when will Messi make his Ligue 1 Uber Eats debut? While there is no definitive answer as yet, he will first have to get through a Mauricio Pochettino-style pre-season -  reputed to be much tougher than the ones to which Messi has been used at Barcelona - which should take at least three weeks, judging by how long Kylian Mbappé took after returning from Euro 2020 duties with France.

And with the international break coming in the first week of September, chances are Messi will be set to say hello to French football - and play his first match for a club other than Barcelona - when promoted Clermont come calling at the Parc des Princes in Round 5 action on the weekend of Sunday 12 September.


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