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By Sophie Leibowitz, ESPN Staff WriterParis Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi will join a growing list of footballers who are playing for their new countries in their first games for their clubs.ESPN.com is reporting the Argentina forward will be playing for FC Barcelona in the 2018/19 season, and will be joining a growing number of soccerers who have switched allegiances.
Messi, who is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a Barcelona player for nearly eight years and will have a full season of La Liga to his name.
He’s currently on loan at Barcelona from the French side Bordeaux.
In an interview with ESPN Deportes, Messi revealed his motivation to switch allegiances to a new country, adding that he’s hoping to prove to the Argentine footballing establishment that he can lead the team to success.
“I’m trying to do the best I can with the Argentine national team, and I’m going to do that by playing for Barcelona,” Messi said.
“I am happy to be with the club and I am very proud of the team I am playing for.”
Messi, who has been playing for the Spanish national team since 2014, will join the Barcelona squad in their friendly match against the reigning champions, Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Barcelona has made it clear it plans to sign Messi, with the Brazilian saying he’s eager to make a name for himself in Europe.
“There are a lot of people in Argentina who are not playing,” Messi told ESPN Depor.
“So I think that the time is right for me to come and try to make my mark and be in the right position to be able to do it.”
The team has been trying to sign me for years and I think it’s time for a new challenge.
I think I can be a real star in Europe.
“Barcelona and Argentina play each other in the Copa del Rey final on Sunday.