Lionel Messi is expected to arrive in Paris on Monday, lured by the limitless funds of PSG, having said a tearful farewell to Barcelona after 21 years.
The 34-year-old, seen by the French giants’ Qatari owners as the vital missing piece of their frustrating Champions League puzzle, has already had fans playing a guessing game.
On Sunday night, dozens of PSG diehards gathered at the gates of Le Bourget airport to the north of the capital in the hope of catching a glimpse of their newest ‘galactico’.
However, their wait was in vain.
Stressing no deals had been done, Messi conceded at his tearful farewell news conference in Barcelona on Sunday that joining PSG was a “possibility”.
In reality, they are the only club who can afford what is expected to be a deal worth 35 million euros a year for the 34-year-old Argentine.
“I gave everything for Barcelona from the first day that I arrived right to the last. I never imagined having to say goodbye,” Messi told the news conference.
“I have still not come to terms with the reality of leaving this club now — I love this club,” added a suited Messi, who several times wiped away tears before a squadron of reporters at the club’s Camp Nou ground who gave him a standing ovation.
Messi, widely considered the most gifted player in the history of the game, won 35 trophies at Barcelona who he joined as a 13-year-old — including four Champions Leagues and 10 league titles while his 672 goals are a record for any of the top five European leagues.
Messi is a free agent. Ramos also arrived on a free transfer.
Jorge Sampaoli, the coach of PSG’s bitter rivals Marseille, said the arrival of Messi could only be good news for French football.
“It would be great for Ligue 1, he’s the best player in the world,” said Sampaoli.
“French football has won a lot and grown a lot in recent seasons.
“Even if he goes to a club other than Marseille, it will be good. Everyone would be riveted on the championship. It will be an additional motivation for us to play against him.”
Meanwhile, in an indication that Barcelona is keen to move swiftly on, they defeated Juventus 3-0 on Sunday night in a pre-season friendly.