He has been the king of all the world’s footballing terrains, but he is now on a new pedestal, the Parisian one, and his arrival in the French capital yesterday was akin to a king’s coronation. It was a moment that will live long in the memory of the Parisian populace, who have long had a love affair with the Argentinian, perhaps because his playing style has always seemed so different to many of his contemporaries.
Barcelona superstar and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi arrived in the French capital today for his first official appearance as an active player. The 29-year-old Argentine striker, who joined French giants Paris Saint-Germain in a transfer worth a staggering €763 million ($1.03 billion), was greeted by frenzied fans upon his arrival at the city’s Orly airport.
This week, it was announced that Argentina’s Lionel Messi and French superstar Antoine Griezmann will team up to play for Paris Saint Germain in the 2018/19 season. The addition of the two high-profile signings, along with Neymar’s return to Barcelona, has been a major coup for the Parisians, who were the French champions in 2017. The addition of Messi will likely be a major boon for the league, while bringing him back to France, where he won several titles, is a big draw for many fans. Griezmann is the latest of Real Madrid’s stars to move abroad, and while the transfer is an important one for the Catalan club, it was met with some cynicism in France.. Read more about where is lionel messi from and let us know what you think.
PARIS, France — Since 5 a.m., Seb and Ben had been waiting. They were the first to come, and they were two of the most dedicated. Season-ticket holders at Paris Saint-Germain came up with the notion of killing two birds with one stone on the “biggest day of their life,” as they put it: the day Lionel Messi would be revealed as a PSG player.
One would be first in line at the club store, which is situated just across from the Parc des Princes’ main entrance, to ensure that they received their “Messi 30” jerseys with his official squad number. The other would be assigned to the finest spot in front of the stadium, near the stage where the Argentine genius would later appear to greet the audience.
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It worked flawlessly. When Messi was introduced to the supporters at noon local time, they bought their jerseys and got the greatest view of him.
“Meeeesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss The reception was extraordinary. Never before has Paris been so excited about a new signing: not for Ronaldinho, George Weah, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Beckham, or Neymar. Not for a single person.
However, this was Messi.
The communications department received so many requests to attend his press conference that they had to choose just 120 journalists from hundreds who applied through email, SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter Direct Message, Instagram Direct Message, and other means. PSG CEO Jean-Claude Blanc and his staff barely slept in preparation for the big day. For Messi, the first event had to be flawless, and it was.
Omar Da Fonseca couldn’t help himself towards the conclusion of the press conference. The former PSG striker, who played for the club for one season in 1985-86 before moving on to Toulouse and AS Monaco, is Argentine, like Messi, and one of the 16 Argentines to have played for the Parisian club. Messi is ranked No. 17 in the world.
As soon as the questions were over, Da Fonseca, the main analyst for beIN Sports’ LaLiga coverage in France, applauded and screamed Messi’s name. He invited his coworkers to join him, which they gladly accepted. Messi grinned, but his three kids, who were all dressed in PSG jerseys in front of their mother, Antonela, were much more amused.
Paris is engulfed in Messi fever.
When Lionel Messi made his debut for Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, he was welcomed by a swarm of supporters. AFP/BERTRAND GUAY/Getty Images
With their teases and announcement of the star’s arrival, PSG broke all social media records. There’s no parallel to Cristiano Ronaldo’s three-year transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus. They’ll also shatter all sales records for t-shirts, with lines stretching for a kilometer outside both the stadium club store and the one on the Champs-Elysees.
Twenty broadcasters were either live or filming outside the Parc des Princes. Inside the stadium, ten additional journalists from around the globe, including ESPN Argentina, were given unique access to PSG’s new number 30. The club received over 100 requests but was able to narrow it down to ten. Each person is limited to three questions.
Meanwhile, the rest of the squad was practicing at the Saint-Germain-en-Laye training facility, 30 minutes west of the Parc des Princes, but all they could speak about was Messi. The team’s WhatsApp group had been buzzing all weekend; Messi was joined on Tuesday, and the enthusiasm among his new colleagues is nearly as apparent as the excitement among the spectators. What kind of performer will he be? What makes this so unique?
Messi’s presence will be great for the whole dressing room, as Neymar has often said. On Thursday, the former Barcelona captain will join them, and he can’t wait to get started. It’s too early to tell when he’ll make his debut, but he’ll be introduced at the Parc des Princes on Saturday before of the match against Strasbourg. Tickets for that game are already selling for three or four times their face value on the secondary market, and he won’t even be on the subs’ bench.
He presumably drove by a “Messi van” on his way back to his room at the Royal Monceau, one of the capital’s most opulent hotels, on Wednesday. Since his arrival, trucks with LED displays greeting Messi to Paris and displaying him with his new jersey and the Eiffel Tower have patrolled the city’s streets, promoting the greatest deal in soccer history.
The atmosphere is undeniable: Messi is the new prince of Paris before he’s even kicked a ball.
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