Lionel Messi has revealed he chose to join Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Barcelona as he believes they offer him the best chance of winning the Champions League for a fifth time.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner also admitted his former Barcelona team-mate Neymar helped to persuade him to move to PSG when it became clear his time at the Nou Camp was at an end.
Messi signed a two-year contract with PSG on Tuesday, just days after Barcelona announced he was leaving the club he joined 21 years ago.
But despite the upheaval, the forward says he is now focused on bringing success to the French capital – particularly in the Champions League, which has proved elusive so far.
When asked if PSG – who were runners-up in 2020 – could make the final step, Messi said: “I think this team is already done and ready.
“There are some new transfers but they have been very close and they are ready“.
“I just came here to help – I’ll give my best. My goal and my dream is to win this trophy again and I think that Paris is the best place to have a chance to win it again“.
“It’s not easy. Sometimes you can have the best team in the world and you don’t win the Champions League – this is football“.
“Paris has been so close to a victory in the Champions League. In the best competition the best teams are playing“.
“It’s very difficult to win it. You need a very united squad. This dressing room is very united but you also need the luck“.
“It’s a very special competition and that’s why it’s so beautiful and so important – we all want to win this competition“.
Messi’s most recent triumph in the Champions League came in 2015, when a Barcelona team spearheaded by him, Neymar and Luis Suarez beat Juventus in Berlin.
Neymar celebrated his reunion with Messi on social media on Tuesday, and the Argentine admitted the Brazil forward had played an influential role in his decision to move to PSG, as well as his countryman and new manager, Mauricio Pochettino.
“I’ve got some friends here in the dressing room,” Messi said. “When you see the squad you really want to play with them“.
“We had contact and Neymar, of course, did a lot and was important“.
“The whole dressing room and the staff had an influence on my decision. When we saw it was possible, the first thing we did was talk to them and Pochettino. We’ve known each other for a long time and we are close, in a way“.
“It’s been very easy since the very beginning. All the squad and the staff did a lot to help me choose this club“.
While Messi will be playing professional football for a club outside of Spain for the first time in his career, there is the potential for PSG and Barcelona to meet in the Champions League.
That scenario would bring about an emotional reunion between Messi and his former club, and would also offer him the opportunity to say goodbye to the Barca fans that were unable to witness his final season at the Nou Camp due to coronavirus restrictions.
“Barcelona is my home, I’ve been there since I was a kid“, said Messi. “I’ve lived so many things there – good and bad“.
“I don’t know if we are going to face each other. It would be very nice to go back to Barcelona. I hope it will be with the fans“.
“It would be very strange to play there with another shirt, but it can happen“.