(AP) — Lionel Messi finalized agreement on his Paris Saint-Germain contract and was flying to France on Tuesday to complete the move that confirms the end of a career-long association with Barcelona.
The 34-year-old Argentina star has agreed a two-year deal with the option for a further season, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the contract ahead of it being signed and the official announcement.
Messi is set to earn around 35 million euros ($41 million) net annually, the person said. Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, also confirmed Messi was moving to PSG in a brief exchange with reporters at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport on Tuesday.
Funded for a decade by Qatari sovereign wealth, PSG is one of the few clubs in the world that could finance the signing that links Messi up with Brazil forward Neymar and France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe.
While PSG had to pay 222 million euros (then $261 million) to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, there was no transfer fee for Messi.
Messi became the most desired free agent in soccer history after his Barcelona contract expired. The Catalan club had hoped to keep Messi, who agreed to a pay cut but it still wouldn’t have complied with the Spanish league’s financial regulations.
PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino was in contact with his fellow Argentine as Barcelona announced last Thursday that Messi would be leaving the club he joined as a 13-year-old before winning every major trophy.
Messi has won six Ballon d’Or titles in a sign of his status as one of the greatest of all-time.
PSG will be hoping not only that Messi helps the team regain the French title it lost to Lille last season but finally win the Champions League.
If the club uses a 4-3-3 formation, the front three could see Messi deployed on the right with Neymar on the left and Mbappe between them as the center forward.