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Lionel Messi's 'idea was to stay at Barcelona and finish his career there', admits Leonardo but PSG sporting director hails his arrival at the French giants as 'something enormous'

Daily Mail
Daily Mail
 2021-09-16

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has conceded that Lionel Messi never envisaged playing for the club, but is delighted that the forward does.

Messi ended his 21-year association with Barcelona in August after the club were unable to re-register him due to their crippling financial situation.

As a result, the 34-year-old put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal at PSG with the option of a further 12 months included.

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Lionel Messi had no intention of joining PSG but to stay at Barcelona instead, says Leonardo
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Messi made a tearful goodbye to Barcelona in August after a 21-year association with the club

And speaking about how they managed to sign the Argentine, Leonardo admitted that it wasn't in the plan of their new No 30's to move to leave the Spanish outfit.

'I can't hide that we had contact before, but after January, when he had six months left on his contract. We never spoke to him before January 2021,' he told Canal Plus.

'I think his idea was to stay at Barca. Honestly, he was sure he didn't want to go and he wanted to finish his career there.

'But there ended the Messi story at Barcelona and ours began.

'Imagining a player like Messi with the PSG shirt is something enormous and very nice.'

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PSG sporting director Leonardo (right) admits Messi 'wanted to finish his career' at Barca

Seen by many as the greatest player of all-time, Messi scored a record 672 goals in 778 games for Barca, the club he joined as a 13-year-old.

He won the Ballon d'Or a record six times and lifted 35 trophies with the Catalan club - including 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.

With an illustrious career to date, Leonardo and Co will hope that Messi can guide them to silverware this season - and especially the Champions League.

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