'Surreal': Crazy scenes as Messi completes $110 million Paris move

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·Sports Reporter
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Lionel Messi (pictured left) waves to fans from his hotel after he arrived in Paris to a raucous crowd (pictured right).
Lionel Messi (pictured left) arrived in Paris to a raucous crowd (pictured right) to complete his PSG move. (Getty Images)

The streets of Paris were awash with fans as Lionel Messi made his historic appearance in a PSG jersey following his exit from Barcelona.

Messi signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year at PSG - reportedly worth 35 million euros ($A56m) per season - after his tear-jerking exit from the Nou Camp, where he had begun and expected to end his glittering career.

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Fans have been waiting for the imminent arrival of Messi as he joins an already fierce PSG attack of young superstar Kylian Mbappe, Brazilian Neymar and countryman Angel Di Maria.

Arguably the greatest player of all-time arrived at the airport wearing a 'Ici c'est Paris' T-shirt, which translates to 'Here is Paris'.

"I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain," Messi said Tuesday in a statement.

"I am determined to help build something special for the club and the fans, and I am looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch at the Parc des Princes."

Fans flocked to the airport as Messi stuck his head out the window to the adoring fans.

They then congregated outside Parc des Princes, before emerging at his hotel where many stayed for the remainder of the day.

Messi will wear the No.30 shirt, the club confirmed in a video posted on its Twitter feed, headlined "a new diamond in Paris".

The arrival of Barcelona's record scorer, with 672 goals, will boost Qatari-owned PSG's ambitions to win the prestigious, and lucrative, European Champions League for the first time.

"He has made no secret of his desire to continue competing at the very highest level and winning trophies, and naturally our ambition as a club is to do the same," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said.

Messi's tearful Barcelona farwell

PSG wasted little time in targeting Messi after heavily indebted Catalan giants Barca made clear they could not afford to keep the 34-year-old because of La Liga's financial fair play rules.

Messi arrived in Paris on a private jet on Tuesday with his wife and three children, waving to hundreds of supporters gathered outside the airport before being whisked to a private hospital for a medical.

He later waved to fans who had assembled beneath the balcony of his hotel room.

Only two days ago, Messi had wept as he farewelled his boyhood team, describing his feelings at being told he had to leave as like having "a bucket of cold water poured over me".

However, he said he wanted to carry on competing and that he still harboured ambitions to win another Champions League trophy.

Neymar and Mbappe were already the two most expensive soccer players in history, and the addition of Messi to Mauricio Pochettino's PSG line-up could rival the unstoppable triumvirate that he formed at Barcelona with Neymar and Luis Suarez.

"Back together," Neymar, who will retain PSG's No.10 jersey, posted on Instagram over a video of him and Messi hugging, playing for Barcelona.

Messi, who won 34 titles in 16 seasons with Barca, including four Champions League and 10 La Liga crowns, joins several other big names arriving at PSG on a free transfer this summer.

Spain defender Sergio Ramos was no longer wanted at Real Madrid, Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum had run down his contract with Liverpool and Italy's Euro 2020-winning goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma also joined after his contract with AC Milan ran out.

The arrival of Messi, whose last four-year contract with Barcelona was worth a total of 555 million euros ($885 million) and reported to be the most lucrative in world sport, is set to provoke a renewed new debate about UEFA's financial fair play rules.

Soccer's European governing body introduced the rules in 2009 in an attempt to restrict the power of free-spending owners to buy success, but their success is debatable.

with AAP

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