Lionel Messi Told PSG Stars He Was Signing New Barcelona Contract Before His Move To France
| Last updated
Leandro Paredes has revealed that Lionel Messi was convinced he would remain at Barcelona before his move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi parted ways with Barcelona in August when his contract expired, bringing to an end a hugely successful 17-year spell at the Nou Camp.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner had wanted to remain with Barcelona but was prevented from doing so, with the Catalan club unable to extend his contract due to financial difficulties.
Messi would instead join PSG on a free transfer, signing a two-year contract at the Parc des Princes.
Several PSG players, including Paredes, were pictured with Messi in Ibiza before his departure from Barcelona was confirmed, prompting rumours that the Argentina international had set his sights on a big-money move to France.
But Paredes insists Messi had always planned to remain with Barcelona, the club he first joined as a 13-year-old.
"We had seen him in Ibiza the day before, and he was leaving the next day to sign with his club (Barcelona), that was all," Paredes told TyC Sports.
"We still told him: 'come with us' but he told us: 'I've already arranged everything, tomorrow I'm travelling to sign.'
"Then I don't know what happened on that trip to Barcelona, because the very night he was going to sign the contract, he told us he was coming here."
Paredes added: "At first, we obviously didn't believe him.
"When he told me that he had already arranged everything and that he was going to Paris to sign the contract, I said to him: 'Until you sign and I see you wearing the Paris Saint-Germain shirt, I won't believe you'."
Messi has struggled to produce his best form since joining PSG, managing just four goals in his 24 games in Ligue 1 this season.
The 34-year-old has failed to win over many PSG fans and was booed by supporters after the club was knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid in March.
Paredes is angry at the way Messi has been treated by fans in his first season in French football.
"When they whistled him, I couldn't believe it, these are things we can't handle but it was really crazy," he said.
"You suffer because knowing what Leo is, what he generates and what he gives you, what he tries to do for the club, the way the truth is presented is boring."