Lionel Messi 'wanted to stay' says Barcelona president
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PSG are closing in on the sensational signing of Lionel Messi, just days after his Barcelona dream collapsed due to the club’s dire financial situation. No player would have as much leverage over shirt numbers as arguably the best on the planet, although someone may have to be left upset at the Parc des Princes with the most glamorous shirts in short supply.
Barcelona’s failure to comply with La Liga’s financial regulations left them unable to register Messi’s new contract for the coming season.
To the surprise of the football world, the Catalan side officially called time on Messi’s 21-year spell with the club, before a tearful farewell press conference on Sunday.
Linking up with former Barca team-mates and international compatriots at PSG now seems like the most likely option for the megastar. Express Sport looks at which squad numbers Messi could be greeted with upon arrival.
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Messi has spent well over a decade donning the No 10 jersey for club and country.
In the light blue and white of Argentina, the 34-year-old was deemed worthy to continue a rich lineage of football legends, including Diego Maradona.
In Paris, Neymar already lays claim to the coveted No 10 shirt, and despite the pair’s friendship from their time at Barcelona, the Brazilian’s superstar status means he is unlikely to give it up without a fight.
If he was not playing in the Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo era, Neymar would have been heralded as the best player in the world on more than one occasion. It just so happens that one of those standing in his way has now come calling.
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If the Argentine is feeling sentimental, he could return to the No 19 he wore while making his name as a teenager with Barcelona.
Messi gave it up to wear the No 10 back in 2008, but he could revert back to avoid an awkward confrontation with Neymar, and mark a new beginning in Paris.
The jersey is currently occupied by Pablo Sarabia, although the Spaniard may be forced to step aside given the gravity of the incoming player.
Ultimately, PSG’s squad is already stacked, so it would be almost impossible for Messi not to tread one somebody’s toes.
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Depending on whether or not the Argentine is superstitious by nature, Messi may fancy his chances with the No 13 jersey in Paris.
Considered unlucky by some, the 13 shirt is the lowest currently available in the PSG squad.
Worn by legends of the game like Michael Ballack, Gerd Muller and Eusebio, the former Barca man would not be in bad company, despite being an unorthodox choice.
Next up the list would be No 17, so if Messi wants a number of any significance, he may have to upset an existing squad member as his first course of action in France.
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