Lionel Messi Reveals Barcelona Wanted to Sign "Phenomenal" Marco Verratti

Messi has revealed Barca wanted to sign Verratti
Messi has revealed Barca wanted to sign Verratti / Aurelien Meunier - PSG/PSG via Getty Images

Lionel Messi has revealed that Barcelona wanted to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti and described his new teammate as a "phenomenon".

Messi was officially unveiled as a PSG player on Tuesday following his shock exit from Barcelona, who revealed they couldn't afford to offer the Argentine a new contract due to current wage restrictions in LaLiga.

The 34-year-old admitted in his press conference that his former club were extremely interested in signing Verratti. "Marco Verratti has shown that he is a huge player, one of the best in the world in his position. He is a phenomenon," the new PSG star said.

“He was wanted in Barcelona, but now it is the reverse and it is me coming to him in Paris. Not only Marco, but the dressing room is full of the best players in the world.”

Verratti's former agent, Donato Di Campli, had previously claimed that the PSG star "really wanted" a move to the Camp Nou.

He told French newspaper L'Equipe: "When Barca contacted me, I asked Marco what we're doing. He told me to talk with them, and that we would also talk with PSG since an extension was in the pipeline. PSG was not great at the time, so I said to Marco, 'Are we going or are we staying?'

"He said 'OK, let's try another experiment.' Marco really wanted to go to Barcelona. He texted Nasser [Al-Khelaifi] to tell him, I kept it. They were offering a lot of money, but it wasn't even that. Playing with Messi, becoming a champion, which is a different thing to being a great player. PSG are one of the biggest clubs in the world, but they play in a weak league. I told Marco that if he wanted to become a champion, he had to change tune."

Messi went on to credit PSG boss and compatriot Mauricio Pochettino for playing a key role in his move to Parc des Princes.

"The coach and coaching staff had a big part in the negotiations," he said. "When I saw it was possible, I spoke with him (Pochettino) straight away. I've known him for a while. I spoke to him, the fact we are two Argentines helped a lot. We spoke, it went well to begin with. The technical staff at PSG also helped my decision."