Lionel Messi is set to finalise his move to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona after arriving to the French capital on Tuesday.
Sources told ESPN that Messi has agreed to sign a two-year contract at PSG, with the option to extend for a third year.
The Argentina international traveled to Paris following Sunday's emotional farewell to Barcelona at a news conference.
Sources told ESPN that Messi completed a medical exam on Tuesday and visited the PSG's Parc des Princes stadium. Images emerged of Messi at the stadium holding a No. 30 shirt, which was his first number at Barcelona. Neymar, who'll now reunite with his ex-Barca teammate, had offered the No. 10 but Messi refused. PSG asked for authorisation as No. 30 is reserved for goalkeepers under league rules and was worn by Alexandre Letellier.
MESSI NUMBER 30. pic.twitter.com/EKakbhyxrA— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 10, 2021
PSG will formally introduce Messi a news conference for Wednesday at 11 a.m. CEST (5 a.m. ET), and had teased Messi's arrival with a 13-second video on their social media with images and a graphic that read: "New diamond in Paris."
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The club also dropped another hint with a second video of the Eiffel Tower, flanked by six Ballons d'Or, in allusion to Messi. The news conference had been originally planned for Tuesday, but sources told ESPN it was moved to Wednesday as PSG need more time to cope with logistics amid worldwide media interest in the transfer.
Messi boarded the aircraft as hundreds of fans waited for him at the Bourget airport in France and at Parc des Princes. The Bombardier Global 7500 touched down in France just after 3.30 p.m local time on Tuesday (10.30 a.m. ET).
Messi, wearing a shirt that read "This is Paris," waved to fans upon his arrival.
Messi's father, Jorge, who acts as the player's agent, was asked by reporters at Barcelona's El Prat airport if his son will sign for PSG.
"Yes," he replied.
Asked who was at fault for Messi leaving Barcelona, Jorge Messi said: "Find out at the club."
Sources have told ESPN that PSG's contract offer for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner will see him earn more than PSG and Brazil star Neymar, Messi's former teammate at Barca. Sources added Messi will stay at Hotel Le Royal Monceau, the same location Neymar stayed when he completed his world-record €222 million move to PSG in 2017.
Messi's contract with Barca expired on June 30, and despite attempts to keep the club's all-time leading scorer, the deal could not be completed due to financial constraints. A tearful Messi said at a news conference on Sunday that he had wanted to remain at Barca and agreed to a 50% wage cut, but the club had no room to manoeuvre because of their failure to offload other players in time and reduce their high wage bill.
Messi's proposed five-year deal at Barcelona meant the club's wage bill stood at 110% of their revenue. Their spending cap with LaLiga has dropped from more than €600 million in 2019-20 to an expected €200m for the coming season, which made it impossible to register the new deal, even with a pay cut.
Messi admitted he had received several calls from clubs since the news broke that he would not continue his 21-year association with Barca.
"[PSG] is one possibility," Messi said on Sunday. "There's nothing closed at the moment, but we're talking about a lot of things. After Barca's statement, a lot of clubs showed an interest. There's nothing final but, of course, there are talks."
Asked about the prospect of joining a rival, Messi added: "There is no doubt that I will go to a team that will compete with Barca. I didn't want to leave, but I have to. And I want to keep winning. That's my mentality. I want to win."
Following Messi's farewell, Barca won the Joan Gamper Trophy with an impressive 3-0 victory over Juventus.