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Lionel Messi 'Determined to Help Build Something Special' at PSG After Barcelona Exit

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2021

SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images

It's official: Lionel Messi, after playing his entire professional career for Barcelona, is now a member of Paris Saint-Germain. 

Paris Saint-Germain @PSG_English

A new 💎 in Paris!<br><br>PSGxMESSI ❤️💙 <a href="https://t.co/scrp1su9a6">pic.twitter.com/scrp1su9a6</a>

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Messi waving to fans from Paris 👋 <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNFC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPNFC</a><br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/FCBW_A7?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FCBW_A7</a>)<a href="https://t.co/BnrvqHYCgF">pic.twitter.com/BnrvqHYCgF</a>

Messi appeared at the club for his signing Tuesday and wasted little time in expressing his excitement for the stunning move.

“I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain," he told reporters. "Everything about the club matches my football ambitions. I know how talented the squad and the coaching staff are here. I am determined to help build something special for the club and the fans."

What will be considered special for PSG? Well, a return to the top of the league after Lille claimed the Ligue 1 title last year—just the second time in the past nine seasons that the Parisian giants didn't win the league—would be a start. 

But the real white whale for PSG is triumphing in Europe and winning the Champions League, a feat it's yet to accomplish. Two seasons ago the club reached the UCL final, only to lose 1-0 to Bayern Munich. 

Last year they lost in the semifinals to eventual Champions League runner-up Manchester City. 

Messi is no stranger to such a stage, having won four UCL titles during his time at Barcelona. Adding the six-time Ballon d'Or winner will give PSG arguably the most formidable attack in the world, reuniting him with former teammate and superstar winger Neymar along with the brightest young talent in the game, striker Kylian Mbappe. 

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Here are the numbers those three contributed in their respective leagues last season: 

  • Messi: 30 goals, nine assists in 32 La Liga matches.
  • Mbappe: 27 goals, seven assists in 31 Ligue 1 matches.
  • Neymar: Nine goals, five assists in 18 Ligue 1 matches. 

Injuries have limited Neymar's league appearances in recent seasons, but if this trio stays healthy, PSG will score at alarming rates. The side is yet again the prohibitive favorite in Ligue 1 and will be among the favorites in the Champions League. 

It is strange to see Messi donning a kit that isn't for Barcelona or Argentina. It's a new era, one he and PSG are hoping will be a very fruitful one. 

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