Barcelona’s unexpected move came as a shock to famous Argentina star Lionel Messi, but the prominent striker confirmed that the presence of familiar faces in his new destination has helped him adapt and settle more easily in the ranks of Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi, 34, has spent his entire career at Barcelona, the Catalan club’s historic top scorer with 672 goals, and joined the French club at the end of last season on a two-year contract after Barcelona informed him of his inability to keep him.
Messi said in an interview with “France Football” magazine published on Saturday: I returned to Barcelona after the Copa America in July to prepare for the new season, having taken additional vacation time granted to me by coach Ronald Koeman.
Messi added: I thought I would sign my contract and start training directly, and I thought everything was going according to plan and only my signature was missing on the contract.
And Messi, who has won the award for the best player in the world six times, added: “But when I got to Barcelona they told me that this case no longer exists and that I cannot continue and that I have to look for a new team, because Barcelona can’t afford to extend their contract with me, it was very hard to imagine. All of this means that we will have to leave our home and change the system of family life.
But at Saint-Germain, he joined his former Barcelona teammate Neymar, who played alongside him at the Catalan club for four seasons.
In the Paris club, Messi has also joined compatriots Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria, and coach Mauricio Pochettino is also Argentinian.
Messi confirmed: All of these aspects played a role in his decision, as the presence of acquaintances and friends made me see things would be easier which would help me adjust and fit in .
He added: I was right because the integration and adaptation has become very easy, especially since there are a lot of players who speak Spanish like me, in addition to the presence of a few friends like Neymar, Paredes and Di Maria, who helped me when I arrived at the club.
Messi is now looking to win the Champions League for the fifth time, while with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe a very solid and distinguished attacking partnership.
There is a strong old relationship between Messi and Neymar, but understanding and harmony with French striker Mbappe, who is also fluent in Spanish, will take time.
Messi said: These aspects make it easier. I have been here for a short time and it is too early to judge things, but I have no doubts that things will turn out well.