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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Qatari-owned PSG confirms talks to sign Lionel Messi


Messi’s contract with FC Barcelona expires this month and clubs around the world, including Qatar’s PSG, are competing to sign up the Argentine football icon.

Lionel Messi’s contract with FC Barcelona is set to expire on June 30, and Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has eyes on the legendary striker, according to the club’s owner.

While Spanish media has reported an agreement has been reached between Barcelona and Messi to extend the contract for two additional seasons, no confirmation has yet been announced.

PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi has added to speculations on the fate of the Argentinian, confirming talks are in place to potentially sign up him up to the club. 

“Messi is at the end of his contract and all clubs have the right to talk to him and recruit him for next season,” Al-Khelaifi said in an interview with French sports newspaper L’Equipe.

Read also: Qatar’s PSG among world’s ‘most valuable’ football teams: Forbes

“What I can tell you, and you can believe me, is that all great players want to come to PSG. All – just to be clear, I’m not saying that to answer you on Messi. It’s not possible to sign them all, since we have great players too. And Messi is Messi, a fantastic player,” he said.

According to reports, whether he stays with Barcelona or signs up with another club, the 33-year-old footballer is expected to face a drop in pay due to debts that have ravaged the sports industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Barcelona’s reported €1 billion in debt, in large due to the pandemic as well as recent big-money transfers, would lead to a significant drop in wages for players, including the Argentinian striker. 

According to the Catalan club’s annual financial report, the €4 billion club is facing some 30% in debt of its total value.

Last year, Messi was reportedly keen on leaving the club before his contract expires but former president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted a clause in the player’s €700 million ($853 million) contract barred him from leaving on a free transfer, forcing the football star to stay in the club to avoid a legal hassle.

American sports channel, ESPN, later reported that Barca president Laporta was working on a two-year deal for the winner of a record six Ballon d’Or awards, with the option for an additional season.

On Friday, Barcelona President Joan Laporta i Estruch said “Lionel Messi’s renewal is going well.

“It’s not a done deal… but it’s going well,” he noted.

Aside from the Qatari-owned PSG, Manchester City has been linked to talks with Messi throughout the past year. 

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