- A small number of fans celebrating Lionel Messi’s arrival at Paris Saint-Germain have clashed with police.
- A reporter outside the PSG stadium said small clashes began when a fan set off a flare into the crowd.
- Thousands of fans had gathered outside to celebrate the signing of football’s biggest star.
Jubilant Paris Saint-Germain fans celebrating the arrival of Lionel Messi clashed with police and security on Wednesday as supporters gathered outside the club’s stadium.
Messi joined the Parisian club on Tuesday night, signing a two-year contract worth $35 million per season, confirming one of the biggest and most shocking transfers in football history as the Argentinian left FC Barcelona, his club for more than 20 years.
PSG supporters were understandably delighted and thousands of people took to the streets of Paris to celebrate the news, with large crowds gathering outside the Parc des Princes, the team’s home, on Wednesday morning.
That morning, Messi gave a press conference, posed for photos in a club shirt, then walked out to greet the mass of fans waiting to see him.
After he went inside, however, there were small pockets of disruption, with significant numbers of fans clashing with police and security guards, according to video taken outside the pitch.
In a video, tweeted by TV producer Renata Heilbornfans can be seen brawling with police and private security.
According to Heilborn’s accompanying tweet, the scuffles began when a fan set off a flare into the crowd. Police officers tried to intervene, but were then attacked by fans, she said.
—Renata Heilborn (@HeilbornRenata) August 11, 2021
Fans were largely peaceful, with the vast majority just wanting a glimpse of arguably the greatest football player of all time.
Messi could make his debut in PSG’s Ligue 1 game against Strasbourg on Saturday, although it may be too early for the striker, who has been a free agent since July 1 and therefore hasn’t had much pre- season.
The next PSG match after Saturday will take place on August 20 against Stade Brestois.