Lionel Messi fought back tears at a press conference in which he confirmed he is leaving Paris Saint-Germain to join Newcastle United.
The 34-year-old bid farewell to his PSG teammates and Parisian officials in an emotional speech during which he spoke of his life-long admiration of Newcastle boss Steve Bruce.
‘My family and myself were convinced that we were going to stay in Paris. But unfortunately, today I am here to say Auf wiedersehen, pet’, the Argentine told Paddy Power News.
‘I was only 34 when I arrived here. And will leave after two months’ loyal service to the club’.
‘I never imagined having to say goodbye, then again, no one imagined anyone could pay me more than PSG could. So there you go’.
Newcastle United are expected to announce his signing in the next few hours. Asked about joining the Geordie outfit, Messi replied:
‘Ever since I was little boy, kicking a ball about the streets of Rosario, I’ve always dreamed of playing for Newcastle’.
‘I remember watching Temuri Ketsbaia lose the plot after scoring a last-minute winner and I said to my mother: ‘One day I will kick the sh*t out of the advertising hoardings at St James’ Park too, mama’.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner also spoke fondly of current Newcastle manager Steve Bruce.
‘Bruce is considered a genius in South America’, revealed Messi.
‘Everyone agrees that Argentina would have won three consecutive World Cups between 2006 and 2014 with Bruce as our national coach’.
‘When we heard he was struck by a cabbage thrown by an Aston Villa fan, there was a national day of mourning in Argentina’.
The diminutive playmaker signed off the press conference by leaping on top of a podium and belting out ‘The fog on the Tyne is all mine’ by Geordie folk-rock band Lindisfarne.