‘The brand new prince of Paris’: PSG introduce Messi to a frenzied French capital


PARIS, France — Seb and Ben had been ready since 5 a.m. They have been the primary ones to reach, and the 2 hardcore Paris Saint-Germain followers, who’ve had season tickets for years, had an thought to kill two birds with one stone on the best day of their lives, as they put it: the day Lionel Messi could be unveiled as a PSG player.

One could be on the entrance of the queue on the membership store, positioned simply reverse the principle entrance of the Parc des Princes, to verify they obtained their “Messi 30” shirts along with his official squad quantity. The opposite one would get the most effective place in entrance of the stadium, by the stage the place the Argentine genius would later come to salute the group.

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It labored to perfection. They purchased their shirts and had the most effective view of Messi when he was offered to the followers at midday native time.

By then, they have been 500 supporters with flares, flags and banners, shouting “Meeeessiiii! Meeeessssiiii!” The reception was out of this world. By no means had Paris been so mad for a brand new signing; not for Ronaldinho, not for George Weah, not for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, not for David Beckham, not for Neymar. Not for anybody.

However this was Messi.

The communications division obtained so many requests to attend his information convention that they needed to choose solely 120 journalists from the lots of who requested to hitch by each attainable medium: e-mail, textual content, WhatsApp, Twitter DM, Instagram DM, you title it. To organize for the large day, PSG CEO Jean-Claude Blanc and his groups hardly slept. The primary occasion needed to be excellent for Messi, and it was.

On the finish of the information convention, Omar Da Fonseca couldn’t assist himself. Stood proper in the back of the auditorium, the previous PSG striker — he loved one season in 1985-86 earlier than spells at Toulouse and AS Monaco — is Argentinean like Messi, and one of many 16 Argentines to have performed for the Parisian membership. Messi is No. 17.

Da Fonseca, the lead commentator for LaLiga in France for beIN Sports activities, clapped and shouted Messi’s title as quickly because the questions have been over. He requested his colleagues to hitch him, which they did. Messi smiled whereas his three sons, all sat of their PSG kits within the entrance subsequent to mum Antonela, have been much more amused.

Da Fonseca went mad as a result of Messi mania is gripping Paris.

PSG beat all social media information with their teasers and announcement of the star’s arrival. There isn’t any comparability with Cristiano Ronaldo‘s transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus three years in the past. They will break all information for shirt gross sales, too: the queue exterior each the stadium membership store and the one on the Champs-Elysees has been so long as a kilometre.

Outdoors the Parc des Princes, 20 broadcasters have been both dwell or recording. Contained in the stadium, 10 extra from all all over the world, together with ESPN Argentina, had unique entry with PSG’s new No. 30. The membership had greater than 100 requests, however reduce it right down to 10. Three questions every, no extra.

In the meantime, on the coaching floor in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, half-hour west of the Parc des Princes, the remainder of the workforce was going by coaching, however all they might speak about was Messi. The workforce’s WhatsApp group had been stuffed with chatter all weekend; on Tuesday, Messi was added and the joy amongst his new teammates is nearly as palpable as it’s with the followers. How good will he be? How particular is that this?

Neymar has been repeatedly emphasising how superb it is going to be for the entire dressing room to have Messi with them. The previous Barcelona captain will be part of them on Thursday, and he cannot wait to get going. It is too early to say when he’ll make his debut, however he will probably be offered to the Parc des Princes on Saturday earlier than the sport in opposition to Strasbourg. Already, tickets are being offered on the secondary marketplace for three or 4 instances their face worth, and that is a recreation for which he will not even be on the subs’ bench.

On Wednesday, when he went again to his suite on the Royal Monceau, probably the most luxurious inns within the capital, he most likely drove previous a “Messi van” on his manner. Since his arrival, vans with LED screens welcoming Messi to Paris and exhibiting him along with his new shirt and the Eiffel Tower have been patrolling the streets of the town, broadcasting the soccer world’s largest switch of a technology.

Earlier than he is even kicked a ball, the temper is simple: Messi is the brand new prince of Paris.

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