Lionel Messi is determined to "build something special" at the Parc des Princes after signing for Paris Saint-Germain.

The former Barcelona star, who scored 672 times in 778 appearances for the Blaugrana, was expected to sign a new contract at Camp Nou but financial complications forced him out the door.

Mauricio Pochettino's men promptly swooped in to seal one of the most momentous signings in history, confirming the deal on Tuesday.

Upon completing his move to the French giants, Messi said: "I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain. 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, and I am looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch at the Parc des Princes."

Lionel Messi has joined Paris Saint-Germain on an initial two-year deal after calling time on his 18-year Barcelona career.

Messi became arguably the greatest footballer of all time at Camp Nou, scoring 672 times in 778 appearances, but his prolific spell came to an end after Barca's dire financial situation forced the club's hand.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner had been a free agent since July 1, though the expectation was for him to sign a new contract at the Catalan club.

However, last Thursday's announcement he would not re-sign with Barca due to "financial and structural obstacles" prompted PSG to move quickly.

The 34-year-old was said to be a target a year ago when he stated his desire to leave, but ended up staying and playing out the final year of his contract.

Having teased the signing throughout the day on social media, PSG finally confirmed it with a video that included footage of their new recruit standing in the centre circle of the Parc des Princes. 

He will wear the number 30 shirt and while PSG confirmed the initial contract length, it is widely reported there is an option in place for a further year.

Messi will be reunited with former Barcelona team-mate Neymar, who joined PSG in a world-record deal in 2017, and link-up with Kylian Mbappe, with that trio set to form a devastating forward line.

Mbappe's future is in doubt with the France star having only one year left on his contract, though there has been talk that Messi's signing could convince him to agree new terms with PSG.

During his time at Barcelona, Messi claimed four Champions League triumphs alongside 10 LaLiga titles.

The forward finally won a senior international trophy in July, firing in four goals and adding five assists to secure Argentina's first Copa America success since 1993.

Messi's acquisition marks the culmination of a transfer window that has seen PSG add significantly to their squad, signing Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi after missing out on the Ligue 1 title and losing in the Champions League semi-finals last season.

One of the best teams in Europe just got better – Lionel Messi has signed for Paris Saint-Germain.

Following his shock exit from Barcelona as a free agent, Messi becomes the Ligue 1 giants' fifth signing of the transfer window, joining the superstars Mauricio Pochettino already had at his disposal.

After coming so close in recent seasons, PSG will hope this move can bring an end to their wait for a first Champions League triumph.

But how will all these players fit in the same XI? Stats Perform attempts to work that out...

 

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma

Keylor Navas has been one of Europe's outstanding goalkeepers in recent seasons, ranking third for goals prevented (8.1, using expected goals on target data) in the top five leagues in 2020-21. But Donnarumma – the Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020 – did not leave boyhood club Milan just to sit on the bench and, at 22, represents the long-term option.

RB: Achraf Hakimi

Alessandro Florenzi headed back to Roma at the end of his loan, but PSG identified just about the best replacement on the market. Over the previous two seasons, Robin Gosens (34) was the only defender with more goal involvements than Hakimi (30).

CB: Marquinhos

PSG won 72.5 per cent of the games Marquinhos played last season in all competitions, conceding 0.7 goals on average. Those numbers altered significantly in his absence, with a winning percentage of 52.9 while shipping 1.1 goals per game. Even with the club's superstar signings, their captain remains one of the key men.

CB: Sergio Ramos

Ramos, another freebie, may no longer be able to play every game – he appeared only 15 times in LaLiga for Real Madrid last term – but PSG better hope he is there for the big ones. Over the previous three seasons, Madrid won 10 of the 15 Champions League games Ramos featured in and only four of the 13 he missed.

LB: Abdou Diallo

This is perhaps the one position on the pitch where PSG lack a genuine world-class option. Even if Pochettino were to bring in Presnel Kimpembe as a third centre-back, there is no outstanding left-sided wing-back. Diallo, a defensive full-back in an attacking team, gets the nod by virtue of starting the season fit and ahead of Layvin Kurzawa in the pecking order.

CM: Marco Verratti

At the end of a season in which Verratti was restricted to only 16 Ligue 1 starts, Euro 2020 provided a reminder of his talents. The Italy midfielder created a tournament-leading 14 chances across just five games while still completing 93.1 per cent of his 417 passes. Now imagine those passes are being played to Messi...

CM: Leandro Paredes

Paredes, Messi's international colleague, also made just 16 league starts for PSG last term, but he was still trusted for the big occasions in the Champions League. That included a dominant display against a Barca midfield of Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, as Paredes played the second most passes on the pitch (73) and assisted one of four PSG goals.

CM: Georginio Wijnaldum

Angel Di Maria is very unfortunate to miss out on this XI and undoubtedly still has a part to play, but Wijnaldum perhaps offers a better balance in a midfield three with the attacking talent ahead of him. Across his Liverpool Premier League career, Wijnaldum led all Reds midfielders in recoveries (951) and duels won (645) and ranked second in interceptions (115) and third in tackles (181).

RW: Lionel Messi

Of course, Messi can play across the front three, but starting from the right – with Hakimi in the Dani Alves role outside him – will bring back memories of Barca teams of old. It is the role he occupied in 2014-15, forming part of perhaps the Blaugrana's most exciting attacking trio.

CF: Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe has the Luis Suarez role, providing the direct runs in behind that create space in front of the defence for Messi and Co. Last season's 53 goal involvements did not quite match the forward's career high of 54 in 2018-19, but Mbappe can expect to break all sorts of records in this thrillingly creative line-up this term.

LW: Neymar

Still the world's most expensive player if no longer the biggest name in his own dressing room, Neymar was the third member of that 2014-15 front three. Having decided to step out of Messi's shadow, the Brazil superstar wanted his old friend back. During their four years together at Barca, Neymar assisted Messi 22 times, while the six-time Ballon d'Or winner returned the favour on 20 occasions.

Neymar is excited about the prospect of playing alongside Lionel Messi again as Paris Saint-Germain teased the imminent signing of the Argentina superstar on Twitter.

Messi has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with PSG after Barcelona confirmed last week they would not be able to retain the Camp Nou icon due to "financial and structural obstacles".

The French capital quickly emerged as the most likely destination for the 34-year-old, who scored 672 goals in 778 games for Barca, as well as providing 265 assists for his team-mates.

Neymar played alongside Messi in Spain and is now preparing for a reunion at PSG, the Brazilian posting a story on his Instagram account that showed footage of the pair in their Barcelona days, along with the words "back together" and a fire emoji.

Messi travelled to complete the move on Tuesday, his father Jorge confirming to La Sexta at Barcelona-El Prat Airport that he would be signing for PSG.

The player is set to have a medical upon his arrival, though his future employers could not wait to tease the announcement with a short video on social media.

Titled 'Mercato Update', the 13-second clip showed a plane in transit followed by Messi in an Argentina shirt, albeit his head was cropped out of the footage.

There was then a snapshot of pen being put to paper, followed by playing shirts belonging to Neymar – whose kit included him wearing the number 10 – and Kylian Mbappe hanging up inside the dressing room, sitting either side of another jersey that was covered up.

After landing in Paris, Messi appeared at an airport window wearing a t-shirt that read "Ici c'est Paris" ("Here is Paris") and waved to the large number of fans who had gathered to greet him upon his arrival.

Neymar and Messi won two LaLiga titles and also the 2015 Champions League final while playing alongside each other at Barca, two parts of the famous 'MSN' forward line that also included striker Luis Suarez.

Lionel Messi's imminent switch to Paris Saint-Germain has not had an impact on Cristiano Ronaldo's future with Juventus, according to team-mate Leonardo Bonucci.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi is expected to complete a move to PSG this week after bringing an end to his 21-year association with Barcelona.

French giants PSG have previously been linked with fellow superstar forward Ronaldo, who is now into the final 12 months of his contract with Juve.

With any path to the Parc des Princes now effectively being cut off by Messi's arrival, Ronaldo looks set to stay in Turin for at least the next year.

However, Bonucci insists the shock transfer involving Messi has had no bearing on where Ronaldo will play his football this coming season.

"I think that Cristiano would have stayed even if Messi had not gone to PSG," the Juve defender told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"For us, it's an added value and I'm sure that this year, more than in past years, he will help us reach all of our goals."

 

Since Ronaldo joined Juventus from Real Madrid in 2018, only Robert Lewandowski (103) has scored more goals in all competitions than the Portugal forward's 73 among players in Europe's top five leagues.

Ronaldo's 83 goal involvements over this period rank fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

Despite Ronaldo enjoying another prolific season in front of goal, Juve finished fourth in Serie A in 2020-21.

And Bonucci, who played a starring role in Italy's Euro 2020 triumph, is aiming to win back the title from Inter when the new season begins in a little under two weeks' time.

"We want to bring the Scudetto back home, there is no point in hiding that," he said. 

"When you play for Juventus, that has to be the objective for the season, just like having a great Champions League campaign and fighting on all fronts.

"Personally, though, my goal is to continue my form from the Euros, where I played a major role, and do that again with Juventus."

Lionel Messi is on the brink of completing his sensational transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, according to the player's father.

Messi was expected to sign a long-anticipated new contract at Barcelona last week, only for the LaLiga giants to announce the deal could not be completed due to "financial and structural obstacles".

PSG have moved quickly to secure the 34-year-old, who is poised to form an all-star forward line alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe under head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Multiple reports in Paris suggest Messi is expected in the French capital on Tuesday, and Jorge Messi was approached by reporters at Barcelona-El Prat Airport.

Asked by La Sexta whether his son would sign for PSG, Messi Sr replied: "Yes."

A follow-up question enquiring who was responsible for Messi leaving Barcelona was met with the response: "Find out at the club."

Finally, following his tearful Sunday news conference at Camp Nou, Jorge Messi was asked whether the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was upset and retorted: "Haven't you seen him?"

Messi himself then arrived at the airport with his wife and children but did not make any comment to reporters.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi is a free agent after his time with Barcelona officially ended.

The Argentina international has been heavily linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi is yet to declare his intentions and unlikely to confirm his next move until later this week at the earliest.

TOP STORY - MAN UTD CONSIDERS LAST-MINUTE MESSI MOVE

Manchester United have entered the race for free agent Messi and are considering a late offer to pip PSG, claims the Daily Star.

Messi's exit from Barcelona was confirmed over the weekend, although the 34-year-old refused to declare his next destination amid strong links with PSG.

The report claims United are considering an opportunistic bid, with competition still swirling for Messi's signature and his PSG move unlikely to be progressed until later this week.

However, Ole is reporting that Messi will be in Paris on Tuesday, with the PSG deal almost done.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS claims that Messi's imminent move to Paris Saint-Germain could signal a transfer swoop from Real Madrid for Kylian Mbappe. PSG and Mbappe appear to have been drifting apart in recent times, with the France international opting not to extend his contract due to expire in 2022.

- Messi's imminent move means PSG have ended their interest in signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba,  according to Le Parisien. The France international's agent Mino Raiola had opened talks with PSG about a switch and Pogba was keen on the move but no offer was made.

- Chelsea and Roma have agreed to Tammy Abraham's transfer terms with the move subject to the player's approval, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. This is part of a cascade of moves as Chelsea are set to land Romelu Lukaku from the Nerazzurri, with Roma striker Edin Dzeko headed to Inter.

- Lyon have submitted a bid for Liverpool's Swiss attacker Xherdan Shaqiri, claims L'Equipe. Shaqiri was largely a bit-part player at Liverpool last season.

- Liverpool are also looking to add to their squad as they eye a move for young Belgian talent Jeremy Doku from Rennes, according to Voetbal 24.

On August 9, 2016, Manchester United completed a deal that was expected to transform them back into title regulars.

Paul Pogba – who had left United in 2012 – arrived in an £89.3million (€105m) deal from Juventus, a then-world record transfer fee.

Five years on, Pogba seems to be at something of a crossroads in not just his United career, but as a player altogether.

Like in 2016, Pogba heads into the 2021-22 season on the back of an impressive European Championship with France.

Unlike in 2016, Les Bleus failed to go deep in the competition, dropping out in the last 16 stage to Switzerland.

That game in June perhaps provided the perfect summary of Pogba the player. A global superstar in his own right, the 28-year-old has perhaps never hit the heights his talent suggested, or at least not on a consistent basis.

An exquisite long-range strike put France 3-1 up against Switzerland, yet it was Pogba who dawdled on the ball and was robbed of possession as Les Bleus contributed to their own downfall in Bucharest.

But just how has Pogba fared in the five years since he arrived back at Old Trafford, and what could come next?

 

HIS UNITED RECORD

Pogba has made 199 appearances in all competitions for United in his second spell at the club, with Marcus Rashford (252), David de Gea (216) and Anthony Martial (208) playing more games in that time.

Indeed, only De Gea and Rashford have played more minutes than Pogba's 15,708. While he has struggled at times with niggling injuries, he has more often than not been consistently available throughout his time at Old Trafford, with De Gea and Rashford the two players to start more games than the former Juve star (174).

Pogba has played 134 times in the Premier League since 2016, helping United to 73 victories –  a win percentage of 54.5 per cent.

He has missed 56 league games, with United's win percentage dropping down to 50 per cent in those matches, underlying that he is perhaps more crucial than some of his critics would suggest.

It has to be said, however, that Bruno Fernandes' arrival in 2020 did see Pogba take a back seat.

The Portugal playmaker has already netted more goals (40) in all competitions than Pogba (38), in 119 fewer appearances, though 21 of Fernandes' goals have come from the penalty spot.

Rashford, with 39, is the only United player to record more assists than Pogba, who has teed up as many as he has scored, while the Frenchman's 301 chances created is a team-high, 66 clear of second-placed Rashford.

Pogba ranks in the top three for dribbles attempted (624), with 393 of these being successful, displaying his ability to carry the ball through the thirds, and his total of 11,723 passes is way clear of Nemanja Matic in second (9,849).

 

PARIS FOR PAUL?

With just 12 months left on his contract, talks of a move away for the Frenchman at the end of his deal continue – Paris Saint-Germain his most likely destination, given their reported interest last year.

PSG already have a wealth of midfield options, though, including former team-mate Ander Herrera, Euro 2020 winner Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes.

Pogba completed 1595 passes last term, yet the PSG trio, along with Idrissa Gueye, averaged out at 2126 successful attempts – perhaps aided by their domination on the ball in Ligue 1.

Despite this, only Paredes (322) completed more passes in the final third than the United midfielder's 282, suggesting a different dimension Pogba could bring to Mauricio Pochettino's midfield.

Pogba also won 255 duels, recovering possession 242 times when doing his defensive duties for Solskjaer. Idrissa Gueye, PSG's best performer in this area, only managed 201 successful duels and 208 recoveries in two games more.

However, Verratti, who featured in 11 fewer games than Pogba, was victorious in 233 duels and made 174 recoveries  – could the pair form Pochettino's pivot next season?

While Pochettino now also has Georginio Wijnaldum, who made 262 recoveries albeit in six more games for Liverpool last year, to call upon, Pogba would add undoubted quality to the French giants in every midfield aspect.

Lionel Messi has officially left Barcelona following Sunday's press conference and farewell.

Paris Saint-Germain have been widely linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

The Argentina international admitted that a move to PSG was a possibility but said nothing was confirmed.

TOP STORY - MONDAY PSG MEDICAL FOR MESSI

Messi is scheduled to have a medical with PSG on Monday before he completes his free transfer move from Barcelona, according to L'Equipe.

The Argentina international bid farewell to Barcelona on Sunday and the Parisians appear the frontrunners to sign him.

The report says PSG and Messi have almost agreed to all the final details of the contract, with ESPN claiming he will be unveiled at a special ceremony at the Eiffel Tower this week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter are targeting Anthony Martial as they look to replace Romelu Lukaku, who is expected to join Chelsea, reports The Sun. Manchester United are believed to be ready to sell him for £50million. Inter want Martial initially on a season-long loan.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Jose Mourinho's Roma are plotting a move to sign French striker Alexandre Lacazette from Arsenal. The stumbling block may be that Lacazette wants to play Champions League football, which Roma cannot offer this season.

- Arsenal are lining up a move for Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic if they cannot land Tammy Abraham from Chelsea, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. The Serbian scored 21 league goals for Fiorentina last term.

- Arsenal and Newcastle have agreed to a fee of £25m for English midfielder Joe Willock, claims Sky Sports. Willock spent the second half of last season on loan with the Magpies.

- The Sun claims that Southampton are trying to lure Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back to the club on loan from Liverpool.

 

Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona. The 34-year-old superstar was expected to sign a new contract, but financial restrictions mean his 21-year stint at the club is coming to an end.

Messi, who has been a free agent since the end of June, is now set for pastures new, with Paris Saint-Germain seemingly his destination.

But before potentially linking up with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and the rest of Mauricio Pochettino's star-studded squad, Messi held a farewell news conference in Barcelona.

He was in tears as he took to the stage in front of the media, his family, club officials and his Barca team-mates, who all gave the six-time Ballon d'Or winner a standing ovation.

Here are the best quotes from Messi's Barca goodbye.

The opening statement...

"These recent days I've been giving lots of thought to what I could say, and the truth is that I can't think of anything. This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life, I'm not ready for this and honestly last year with all the nonsense with the burofax I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say but this year is not the same.

On making Barcelona his home...

"My family and I were convinced I wanted to stay here, that's what we all wanted more than anything. We thought we'd be staying here in Barcelona, today I have to say goodbye to all of this. I've been here so many years, my entire life since I was 13. After 21 years I'm leaving with my wife, my three little Catalan-Argentine kids, and I can't tell you we won't come back because this is my home, and I promised my children that.

His final farewell...

"I gave everything for this club for this shirt. I'm so grateful for the care that people have shown me. I've never imagined having to say goodbye because I never thought of it. I never imagined it this way. I imagined it with people in this pitch. I leave this club without seeing the fans for a year and a half. If I'd imagined it I'd imagined it with the Camp Nou full and being able to say goodbye properly."

On his favourite Barca memory...

"It is really difficult to choose just one moment. A lot of things I've lived, good things and bad things. Maybe the time when I made my debut. That was my dream come true and everything that came later was amazing, but I'll always remember that moment that everything started."

Where to next?

"When the press release was published, I had a lot of calls, a lot of clubs that were interested. At the minute, I've not got anything closed but we're talking about a lot of things."

Facing Barca with his next club?

"The people in Barca know me, they know I'm a good player and they know I like competing. If I'm going to come here, then like I did here I'll fight to win everything. The last years of my career I'll finish it in my way, competing and fighting for titles, ending my career on a high."

On doing everything to stay...

"What's clear is that I did everything possible, they couldn't do it because of LaLiga. We did everything we could because I wanted to stay. Last year, I didn't want to stay and I said it. This year, I wanted to stay and I couldn't. Everything was arranged with Laporta and the club, but it wasn't possible in the end and that's all there is to it.  A lot was said and from my part, I wanted to stay as well, but it just couldn't be done because of things to do with LaLiga."

On media speculation...

"I offered to reduce my contract, my salary by 50 per cent and they didn't ask for anything else. The news that I asked for 30 per cent more is a lie. I did everything possible, we did everything possible. A lot of what people are saying is not true and like I said, I did everything."

How will Barca look post-Messi?

"Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world, they have an amazing line-up. A lot of players will come and go, and like [club president] Joan Laporta said, this club is more important than any one person. People will get used to it, at first it will be weird but like everything, people will get used to it. They have great players, a great squad and in the end, it will be easy for them."

Any regrets?

"I would have liked to have won another Champions League. We got to the semi-final [in 2019] and were knocked out by Liverpool. That's football. But I don't regret anything. I tried to give my best, sometimes it works out for the better or worst. I'm of the opinion we could have won more, but I achieved my objectives. It's always nice to win more titles but I'm ending my career here with all these titles."

Lionel Messi confirmed he could join Paris Saint-Germain after his reluctant departure from Barcelona.

The 34-year-old Argentine superstar is a free agent after his contract at Camp Nou expired.

Barcelona have said they were unable to extend his deal due to financial constraints, and it means their record scorer, who has made more appearances for the club than any other player, must walk away.

That announcement first came in a club statement on Thursday evening, with sending shockwaves through the game.

He could head straight into the arms of French champions PSG, joining former Barcelona team-mate Neymar amid a squad of superstars at the Parc des Princes.

Asked about possibly joining the Parisians, Messi said in a news conference on Sunday: "That's honestly one possibility, to reach those heights. At the minute I've got nothing confirmed with anybody."

According to Messi, there has been interest from a host of clubs in signing him.

He did not mention any potential suitors, and only the richest clubs in the game are likely to be able to afford to acquire him, given his high wages.

"When the press release was published, I had a lot of calls, a lot of clubs that were interested," Messi said.

"At the minute, I've not got anything closed but we're talking about a lot of things."

Asked about the possibility of facing Barcelona with his next club, he added: "The people in Barca know me, they know I’m a good player and they know I like competing.

"If I'm going to come here, then like I did here I'll fight to win everything. The last years of my career I'll finish it in my way, competing and fighting for titles, ending my career on a high."

Messi said it was a horrifying moment personally when he was told his time was up at Barcelona.

"My blood ran cold because it was really sad, really difficult. Right until now we're still trying to process it all. When I'm going to go home I'm going to still feel pretty bad about the whole thing," Messi said.

"But the important thing is we're still okay, my family and my loved ones. And that I get to keep playing football. I'm sure now it's going to be a bit difficult but we need to move on."

Reports in France have claimed Messi will fly to Paris on Sunday, suggesting PSG will be his likely next club.

After 20 years in Spain, such a move will be a wrench for a player who has made the Catalan region his home.

Messi said: "I've still not quite come to terms with the reality of leaving this club and changing my life completely. Now we're going to change again, it's going to be a difficult change, especially for my family, but I know that we're going to be okay. We need to accept it, take it on and move forward."

Lionel Messi was in tears as he confirmed his departure from Barcelona after 21 years with the club.

Messi was set to sign a new deal with Barca, but is now heading for pastures new – likely Paris Saint-Germain – after the Catalan giants could not afford to fulfill the contract they had agreed.

The 34-year-old took to the stage for a news conference on Sunday, in front of the media, his family, Barca team-mates and club officials.

He was emotional before he even made an opening statement, as he revealed he had never imagined a moment when he would have to leave Camp Nou.

"These recent days I've been giving lots of thought to what I could say, and the truth is that I can't think of anything," said Messi, who subsequently let the tears flow as he received a standing ovation.

"This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life, I'm not ready for this and honestly last year with all the nonsense with the burofax I was convinced I knew what I wanted to say but this year is not the same.

"My family and I were convinced I wanted to stay here, that's what we all wanted more than anything. We thought we'd be staying here in Barcelona, today I have to say goodbye to all of this.

"We've always made this our home, we're at home and we thought we'd be staying here in Barcelona. The time we've had here in the city and the sport has been amazing but today I have to say goodbye to all of this.

"I've been here so many years, my entire life since I was 13. After 21 years I'm leaving with my wife, my three little Catalan-Argentine kids, and I can't tell you we won't come back because this is my home, and I promised my children that.

"I'm just really grateful for the club, my team-mates all the people by my side. All the people, even though some of them I only met a few times. 

"I want to say to everyone at this house, for the love that I've had to live so many experiences at this club, all of this helped me to grow, helped me to improve and make me into the person I am today.

"I gave everything for this club for this shirt. I'm so grateful for the care that people have shown me. I've never imagined having to say goodbye because I never thought of it.

"I never imagined it this way. I imagined it with people in this pitch. I leave this club without seeing the fans for a year and a half. If I'd imagined it I'd imagined it with the Camp Nou full and being able to say goodbye properly."

England international Kieran Trippier has expressed his desire to return from Spain this off-season.

The Atletico Madrid full-back has spent two seasons in Spain, helping Diego Simeone's side win LaLiga in 2020-21.

A former Burnley and Tottenham defender, Trippier has been pursued by Manchester United who are yet to agree a fee with Atletico.

TOP STORY – ARSENAL ENTER TRIPPIER RACE

Arsenal have joined United in targeting Kieran Trippier, reports The Sun.

The Gunners see Trippier as Hector Bellerin's replacement, with the Spaniard having been linked with Inter as he aims to make a move away from north Lonndon.

Atletico are demanding €40million (£34million) for 30-year-old Trippier.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sunday Mirror are reporting that Harry Kane will need to force through his transfer from Tottenham to Manchester City, after Spurs chairman Daniel Levy's claim the England captain is not for sale. City are reportedly prepared to wait and start the new season without a recognised striker.

- Inter are closing in on a deal for Atalanta's Colombian forward Duvan Zapata, with an offer of €30m on the table, reports Cesar Luis Merlo. Zapata is seen as a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, with the Belgium striker set to exit for Chelsea.

- Atalanta are ramping up their move to sign Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham as part of the three-club shuffle. Fabrizio Romano claims the Atalanta board will meet Chelsea in the next 48 hours, with a price tag of around €40m to be discussed.

- Paris Saint-Germain have held advanced talks with the agent of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly about a move, reports Foot Mercato.

- Burnley are struggling to complete a move to sign RB Leipzig's Ademola Lookman on loan, according to The Sun.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino insisted his players were not distracted by Lionel Messi rumours ahead of Saturday's hard-fought 2-1 win over Troyes.

PSG commenced their Ligue 1 campaign with the come-from-behind victory after goals from new signing Achraf Hakimi and Mauro Icardi.

The Parisians have been heavily linked with Lionel Messi in recent days after Barcelona confirmed his departure but Pochettino insisted that had no impact on his team's display.

"No, I don't think so, the players and the team have been focused," Pochettino said at the post-game news conference. "They are professionals.

"His name is associated with different clubs, there are plenty of rumours, but the players have remained committed, they will be until the end of the transfer window.

"We will see what happens in the next few days."

Pochettino admitted it was a "difficult" game for PSG, who are aiming to re-claim the Ligue 1 title after missing out to Lille last season.

“It was a very difficult meeting, we did not start well," the Argentine said. "We conceded an early goal, we have to do a lot better. We conceded too many chances for my liking.

"There were good and not-so-good periods in the game but overall I'm happy. It was very important to get the three points and start the season in this way.

"We have to give credit to Troyes who made the game difficult for us. I hoped for better, but the opponent showed energy.

"We are still at the beginning of the season, still in the process of breaking in. We still hope to win 5-0, but we take this victory as it is."

PSG return to action on Saturday against Strasbourg.

Paris Saint-Germain kicked off their Ligue 1 campaign with a 2-1 victory despite suffering an early scare against Troyes.

Oualid El Hajjam's ninth-minute header had the newly promoted hosts on top but their delight was cut short 10 minutes later when Achraf Hakimi smashed in a first goal for his new club.

Mauro Icardi doubled the blow two minutes later with what proved to be the winner, poking past goalkeeper Gauthier Gallon after good work by Kylian Mbappe.

Amid speculation over the possible arrival of Lionel Messi in Paris, Mauricio Pochettino's side started positively on the field as they look to recapture a Ligue 1 crown which they have claimed in seven of the past nine seasons.

Thilo Kehrer's last-ditch intervention made amends for centre-back partner Presnel Kimpembe's early mistake as Troyes threatened, though PSG did not escape so lightly from the resulting corner. El Hajjam greeted Dylan Chambost's inswinging delivery as the centre-back nodded past Keylor Navas.

Ander Herrera sent a rising effort into the side netting but shortly after Hakimi restored parity, powering onto Herrera's pass before blasting a right-footed volley into the roof of the net.

Things rapidly worsened for the hosts when Icardi added a second, the forward prodding home after Mbappe's cutback found his team-mate inside the area.

Mbappe thought he had scored himself when he rounded Gallon and curled towards goal, only to be denied by Jimmy Giraudon's goal-line clearance.

Renaud Ripart induced a smart reflex save from Navas to keep out a drilled strike that seemed destined for the net, while Mama Balde's audacious acrobatics had the PSG goalkeeper scrambling after the break.

Back-to-back opportunities followed for the away side to finish the game off but neither went in, Icardi flicking a header wide and Mbappe bending a shot narrowly over the crossbar.

What does this mean? PSG off on the right track

A good start to make amends for last season's underwhelming campaign was vital for Pochettino and they began in positive fashion despite an initial blip.

While PSG had lost just one of their previous nine opening games in Ligue 1 (W5 D3), they were beaten by Lens to open the 2020-21 season. However, Saturday's win sets the visitors off in the right direction to reclaim their crown.

Hakimi's happy debut

Hakimi's equaliser rapidly removed any nerves for the away side, smashing in to become the first player since Metehan Guclu in 2019 to score on his top-flight debut for PSG.

Since the start of the 2019-20 campaign, only Robin Gosens (34) has more goal involvements for a defender across Europe's top five leagues than Hakimi (31), while his goal here saw him become just the second Moroccan to score in Ligue 1 for the club.

Tough outing for Touzghar

Yoann Touzghar almost profited from Kimpembe's early error to square across Navas' goal, though his performance declined from there on in.

The forward cut an isolated figure up top, winning just 33.3 per cent of his duels as he touched the ball just 20 times – the lowest figure for any player who started the game.

What's next?

PSG host Strasbourg next Saturday - could Messi be part of the squad by then? As for Troyes, they travel to Clermont Foot the day after.

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