Lionel Messi has flown into Paris with his wife and children for his medical with Paris Saint-Germain where he will sign a £1million-per-week, two-year deal after leaving cash-strapped Barcelona.
The 34-year-old was pictured at Barcelona airport alongside his wife Antonella and their three children, Thiago, eight, Mateo, five, and Ciro, three.
Antonella, 33, later posted a selfie alongside her husband as they sat on their private jet waiting to fly to France.
Sources at the French club confirmed Messi’s lawyers had been poring over the contract proposal since Sunday but gave it their approval this morning.
The final points of negotiation were understood to have concerned the six-time Ballon d’Or winners image rights, as well as the breakdown of his wages and various bonuses.
Messi’s annual salary will be in the region of €63m (£53m), putting his earnings at just over £1m a week. He will sit in France’s highest tax bracket of 45 per cent, leaving his take-home pay at around £550,000 per week.
Lionel Messi was all smiles on a private jet alongside wife Antonella as they boarded a flight to Paris to sign a deal with PSG
Messi, pictured at the airport today, will become a PSG player after agreeing a two-year contract to move to France
The 34-year-old attacker was pictured at the airport with wife Antonella and their three children: Thiago, Mateo and Ciro
Messi shared a hug prior to going through airport security as he said his final goodbyes before jetting off to sign his PSG deal
Jorge Messi was mobbed as he arrived at the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport as he jetted out prior to his son
PSG’s passionate supporters gathered in large numbers on Tuesday in the hope of seeing Messi arrive at the Parc des Princes
His father, Jorge, today arrived in Paris ahead of his son and fielded questions from reporters having confirmed the deal was done.
Asked who was responsible at Barcelona for allowing their greatest ever player to leave, Jorge Messi replied: ‘You have to ask the club.’
The player’s representatives and Barcelona had earlier moved to dispel reports that the Spanish side made a last ditch bid to keep Messi.
Sources close to negotiations have re-affirmed that Barcelona could not afford to keep Messi even if he stayed for free as, even without him, they are above the wage cap for LaLiga this season. For that reason they did not attempt to persuade Messi to drop his salary.
On Sunday, Messi said a tearful goodbye to his club of 21 years which he had joined as child, being signed to the academy and moving from his native Argentina.
He scored 672 goals in 778 appearances but Barcelona were unable to hang onto him after falling foul of financial fair play rules set by Spanish league La Liga.
Barcelona blamed the league but are reportedly in debt to the tune of more than £700 million, meaning that Messi’s contract – even with a 50 per cent pay cut – wasn’t in line with the regulations.
Messi had remained at home in Barcelona awaiting the all-clear to travel to Paris ahead of agreeing a two-year deal, with the option of a third. He was seen leaving his home shortly after 1pm local time to go to the airport.
Former teammate at Barcelona, Neymar posted a picture of him and Messi on Instagram earlier with the caption: ‘Back together’
Messi will form a devastating attacking trident alongside Neymar (centre) and Kylian Mbappe (right) in Paris next season
His pending arrival comes at a time when French clubs are reeling from failed TV deals which has impacted revenue.
It is hoped Messi’s presence will stimulate new negotiations with interested TV companies to benefit clubs across the French league.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, talking to L’Equipe, explained how it could lead to an increase in income from BeIN’s overseas rights deal.
He said: ‘If this is confirmed, it’ll be fantastic for us all. For the TV rights and the general marketing value of Ligue 1, it would undeniably be a plus.
Contractors at Barcelona were seen removing posters of Messi at their Nou Camp stadium prior to his flight to Paris
‘This time, with Messi, you can’t imagine that in a transparent context the broadcasting rights sold by BeIN abroad wouldn’t explode.
‘I am very confident. If this transfer goes through, with Neymar and Mbappé there, we are in a favourable position.
‘If Qatar take the initiative to build a great team at PSG, we’ll all be happy – even if it makes the competition more difficult.
‘But you need the other clubs, at least the ones going for European places, to have the means to sign players like Messi.
‘In that case, we would become the number one league in Europe. For that to happen, BeIN has to be positive with the international rights to develop them even further.’
Messi’s father, Jorge, was central to the negotiations on behalf of his son’s PSG switch but was left bemused at Barcelona
The 34-year-old (left) was in Ibiza with PSG’s biggest names including Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti last week
Signing Messi gives PSG the highest wage bill of any sports team on the planet at £256M, overtaking Real Madrid and well ahead of the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and the Golden State Warriors
The 34-year-old Argentine great is going to earn £25m a year as he signs a two-year deal at the Parc des Princes, with a deal to be officially confirmed in the coming hours.
With seemingly no end to PSG’s expenditure this summer, the Ligue 1 club now have an astronomically high wage bill which is way out in front on a global scale.
Sportsmail gives you all the figures and explains how they’re outspending sporting heavyweights across a number of different sports.
5) LOS ANGELES DODGERS – £193m
The highest-paid non-football sports team is MLB franchise the LA Dodgers, who won their first World Series in 32 years last year.
Trevor Bauer earns the most, at £24.5m, while Mookie Betts was recently handed an astonishing 12-year $365m deal, which works out at $30.4m (£21.9m) a year.
The Dodgers are someway ahead of the second highest-paid MLB team, the New York Yankees who have an annual payroll of £146m.
Trevor Bauer earns the most at the Los Angeles Dodgers, on a whopping £24.5million a year as they rank fifth on the list
4) BARCELONA – £195m
This is the Messi effect. Before this summer, Barcelona actually topped this list on £238m.
But as the Catalans failed to agree a new contract for their most prized asset, their total wage bill dropped dramatically as they look to rid themselves of the astonishing levels of debt they find themselves in.
Nevertheless, Antoine Griezmann is still on a yearly salary of £30.8m, with Philippe Coutinho now the third-highest earner on £21.2m. New signings Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay are reportedly on £5m and £4.3m a year respectively.
Source: Salary Sport
3) MANCHESTER UNITED – £201m
The big-money signings this summer of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane – whose move is not yet fully completed – sees the Red Devils third in the list of the highest wage bills of global sports teams.
Sancho – signed for £73m from Borussia Dortmund – is on £18.2m a year while the club’s highest earner is still goalkeeper David de Gea, on £19.5m.
French defender Varane is reportedly set to earn £10.25m per season at Old Trafford, with Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford also all earning £10m+ a year.
Jadon Sancho – signed this summer for £73million from German giants Borussia Dortmund – is on £18.2m a year in Manchester
2) REAL MADRID – £212m
The Spanish giants have seen their wage bill reduced somewhat by Sergio Ramos’ departure this summer, given their former captain was on £17.5m-a-year according to Salary Sport.
Yet with David Alaba reportedly earning in the region of £10m-a-year, Madrid still retain second spot.
Their highest-earner is Eden Hazard, on an annual wage of £21m-a-year, while Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric are all above £15m a year too.
Source: Salary Sport
Real Madrid’s highest-earner is winger Eden Hazard, on an annual wage of £21m-a-year, having joined them from Chelsea
1) PSG – £256m
It’s been quite the summer for the Parisians.
As well as Messi’s £25m-a-year deal, the Ligue 1 club have splashed out on free agents Georginio Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Ramos for a reported combined annual salary outlay of £29.2m.
It means the Ligue 1 club – backed by Qatari investment – now by some distance have the highest wage bill of any sports team on the planet, at around £256m. A huge renewal of Kylian Mbappe’s contract will see that figure increase this summer too.
Source: Salary Sport
Sergio Ramos was among three former free agents who are earning big salaries at PSG as they overhaul their first team squad