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Hundreds of excited Paris Saint-Germain fans are waiting outside the Parc des Princes and one of the city’s airports in order to catch the first glimpse of Lionel Messi.
After a tearful farewell to Barcelona on Sunday, the Argentine superstar is expected in the French capital to capital to complete his transfer to PSG in the next few days.
But they could be in for a long wait with Messi filmed on Monday wearing swimming trunks by the pool at his house in Barcelona.
Messi, 34, didn’t confirm he was about to sign for the French club in Sunday’s press conference but newspaper L’Equipe said he was set for a medical in Paris on Monday and to finalise terms.
It has prompted many PSG fans to gather at the entrance of their team’s stadium, under tight security from police officers and stewards, and at Le Bourget Airport north of the city. The airport is typically used for private jet and business flights.
PSG fan Mehmet Sen, who had been waiting at the gates of the airport since 2am, said: ‘We’re waiting for a legend, the legend that is Leo Messi.’
Fans also thronged the airport on Sunday night after a false rumour spread that Messi was due to arrive. But the large crowd chanting ‘Messi, Messi’ was left disappointed because the player was still in Barcelona.
That appeared to still be the case on Monday with the media assembled outside his house capturing a glimpse of him walking by the pool in swimming trunks.
He held an emotional press conference on Sunday morning, explaining he didn’t want to leave the Nou Camp but Barcelona’s crippled finances pushed him out.
PSG can sign Messi on a free transfer because his Barcelona contract had expired but he is reportedly set to earn enormous wages of £570,000-a-week.
He is set to be reunited with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar and also play alongside the exciting French forward Kylian Mbappe.
While the mood in Paris was giddy with excitement, Barcelona fans who gathered outside Messi’s house were distinctly downbeat.
One Barca member even went as far as to file legal complaints with a French court and the European Commission to block PSG’s move.
Juan Branco confirmed the complaint on Twitter on Sunday night by tweeting a statement that read: ‘In the name of the ‘socios’ of Barcelona, my firm has prepared a complaint with the European Commission and demands for provisional suspension before civil and administrative courts in France to prevent Paris-Saint Germain from signing Lionel Messi.
PSG’s ratios in terms of ‘Financial Fair Play’ are worse than those of FC Barcelona.
‘In 2019-2020, PSG’s salary-to-income ratio was 99 per cent, while Barcelona’s was 54 per cent. Meanwhile, the difference has increased.
‘It is inconceivable that the ‘Financial Fair Play’ serves to aggravate the drifts of football-business, the instrumentalisation of football by sovereign powers, and the distortion of competitions.’ According to Marca, PSG will fall foul of FFP with the signing of Messi and Barcelona couldn’t renew the star’s contract because even after a 50 per cent pay cut, the club’s wage bill would be 110 per cent of cap imposed by LaLiga.
Messi, who also confirmed he had offered to take a 50 per cent pay cut to continue a period of service which brought 672 goals in 778 appearances, said: ‘This is what Laporta said right up until the last minute, and because of everything with the league, it suddenly couldn’t happen.
‘There’s nothing more to tell. Anything else, I can’t say. What’s clear is that I did everything possible; the club, Laporta, they couldn’t do it because of LaLiga.
‘I’ve heard a lot of things said about me, that I didn’t want to continue, but on my behalf, we did everything we could because I wanted to stay.’