Messi to PSG? Paredes hopes Barcelona star can be persuaded

By Joe Wright 22 January 2021 86
Messi to PSG? Paredes hopes Barcelona star can be persuaded

Leandro Paredes hopes Lionel Messi can be convinced to leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.

The Ligue 1 champions' sporting director Leonardo confirmed on Monday that the club are keeping a close eye on Messi's plans.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner is in the final six months of his contract at Camp Nou and could decide to leave on a free transfer after this season, having failed to engineer an exit in 2020.

Paredes would love his compatriot to move to the Parc des Princes, telling reporters on Thursday: "It's natural to want him on your team. But that will be his decision.

"It's the club's responsibility to try to convince him. I hope we can have him with us. But, I repeat, it's his decision."

Paredes is already enjoying working with another fellow countryman at PSG in the shape of Mauricio Pochettino.

The former Tottenham boss took over from Thomas Tuchel this month and has enjoyed an encouraging start, winning three of his first four games in charge including the Trophee des Champions clash with Marseille last week.

Paredes has sensed a sharpening of effort in training and feels Pochettino has inspired a change in mentality.

"Having a coach of the same nationality helps," he said. "We share the same ideas. We get along well. We have to make the most of that.

"Every coach has his ideas, brings his own energy. The mentality is different for us now. We have new options in the game. There is more intensity in training."

Paredes, who joined from Zenit for a reported €40.2million in January 2019, has established himself as more of a first-team regular at PSG this season.

The 26-year-old has started seven league games this term, just one down on his same tally from 2019-20.

Paredes has the second-highest passing accuracy (91.7 per cent) of any of PSG's midfielders to play in at least seven games this season in all competitions.

He also averages just over two interceptions per 90 minutes, the best rate among his team-mates in his position.

"Getting to a club like PSG is never easy. The first six months were difficult but I feel good today," he said.

"I will stay, I hope, for many years. I'm happy in Paris with these team-mates."

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