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Lionel Messi’s face was removed from outside the Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium on Tuesday as the Argentine closes in on a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
The 34-year-old’s shock departure from the Spanish side was announced last week and Messi waved goodbye to the club he spent his entire career at in an emotional press conference on Sunday.
Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday that he is set to commit to French side PSG on a two-year contract worth £500,000 a week and Barcelona have started their new era by removing pictures of their former captain from the club’s surroundings.
Messi took centre stage in a large image of multiple Barcelona stars including goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen, Gerard Pique and Antoine Griezmann, but construction workers took down the strips showing Messi’s face.
The entire poster on the side of Barcelona’s 99,000-seater stadium has been removed following Messi’s departure, while club officials were also seen taking down smaller, street-side posters with the Argentina’s face on it.
The Argentine forward, who scored 672 goals in 778 matches for Barcelona and won 35 trophies in the process, is flying to France on Tuesday to complete his free transfer to PSG just over 48 hours after waving goodbye to the Catalan club.
An emotional Messi broke down in tears at a farewell press conference and called for ‘humility and respect’ from the club after he left.
“I tried to behave with humility and respect and I hope that is what remains of me when I leave the club,” he said.
Messi also revealed how much he was willing to sacrifice in order to stay at Barcelona. The Catalans agreed a new contract with the Argentine over the summer but the club where unable to get the deal approved by La Liga due to Barcelona’s financial problems.
He said: “I took a 50 per cent wage cut and we had closed the deal. The club did not ask anything else from me. They did not ask me to take a further 30 per cent cut, that’s a lie. We did everything possible.
“Honestly, when the elections happened (in March), I spoke with (club president Joan) Laporta, we had dinner and after that I was convinced I would be staying.
“My contract was never the issue… What I know is that I did everything I could. The club say it could not happen because of LaLiga.
“I can guarantee you that I did everything I could to stay. Last year I didn’t want to and I said that, but this year it was different.”
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