It is up to Lionel Messi whether he joins Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and the responsibility lies with the French giants to try to convince him to make the switch, according to midfielder Leandro Paredes.
Messi’s current Barcelona deal expires at the end of the season and the 33-year-old star could again look walk away from the club after his efforts to do so failed last summer.
PSG are among the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, and club director Leonardo recently admitted that players of Messi’s caliber would “always be on their list.”
Messi’s Argentina teammate Paredes – who has been at PSG since joining from Russian club Zenit St Petersburg in 2017 – has asserted that it’s the responsibility of the French champions to make Messi choose them as his next destination.
“It’s natural to want him on his team. But it will be his decision,” Paredes told Le Parisien.
“The responsibility of the club is to try to convince him. I hope we can have him with us. But I repeat, it is his decision,” the 26-year-old added.
The arrival of Mauricio Pochettino in the PSG dugout is also seen as a factor in the club’s potential pursuit of Messi.
The Argentine former Tottenham manager took over at the Parc des Princes in January following the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, and his shared nationality might be an added factor in tempting Messi to the club.
A reunion with former Barcelona teammate Neymar, who made the switch to Paris in a world record deal in 2017, could also be appealing for the star number 10.
PSG’s existing wage bill with major earners such as Neymar and fellow forward Kylian Mbappe on the books has been held up as precluding a mega-money addition such as Messi and the salary he would command, although PSG’s Qatari backers would likely find the funds if a way is found of remaining within Financial Fair Play regulations.
In a twist of fate, Messi and Barcelona were drawn against PSG in the Champions League last 16, with the first leg at the Nou Camp on February 16.
Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona beat Elche 2-0 on Sunday, minus Messi as he serves a two-game ban for a red card. The Catalans are currently third in the La Liga table, 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and having played one game more.
PSG are top of Ligue 1, level with Lille on 45 points but ahead by virtue of goal difference. Pochettino’s men beat Montpellier 4-0 on Friday thanks to a double from Mbappe and goals from Neymar and Argentine forward Mauro Icardi.