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Former PSG director reflects on ‘huge’ Lionel Messi transfer

Lionel Messi
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The Argentine icon made the only transfer of his career by joining PSG from Barcelona last summer.

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Former Paris Saint-Germain director Leonardo has opened up on Lionel Messi’s move away from Barcelona.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner left Barca after 21 years to join PSG in August 2021. Messi was open to signing a new contract at Camp Nou, but the club couldn’t extend his deal due to their financial problems.

A timely effort from Leonardo and his team persuaded Messi to choose PSG as his next destination. The Argentine star struggled to find a solid start to his career at Park des Prince last season.

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Nevertheless, Leonardo considers Messi’s transfer as one of the most significant achievements of his PSG career.

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“We had thought about it a lot, yes. We had talked about it, but Messi had never thought too much about leaving Barcelona,” he told L’Equipe.

“It was the last moments before his arrival that were decisive. Afterwards, everything becomes a bit more normal. But we made Messi’s only transfer in his career!

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“Chronologically, there is Pele, Maradona, Messi. He is on Olympus.

“So when I take stock of my last three years, I see a Champions League final, a semi-final, the 10th league title, seven national trophies and I signed Messi.

“There are two very significant moments for me, even if I don’t like to pick out the best. The first is the signing, on the same day, of [Marco] Verratti and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic [in 2012].

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“It was no coincidence that a youngster from the Italian second division and a world football star arrived at the same time. The second is Messi. These are two huge dates.”