Lionel Messi joining Paris Saint-Germain was a "dream", says Leandro Paredes, who has been left lamenting the fact that a deal for his Argentina team-mate "didn't happen".
Messi shocked the football world by handing in a formal transfer request last summer, and although he eventually ended up staying at Camp Nou for the final year of his contract, the 2020-21 campaign was rife with speculation over which club he would head to next.
PSG was touted as the most likely destination for the 34-year-old, who is now officially a free agent, but Goal has learned that Barca have reached an agreement to re-sign the talismanic performer on another long-term deal.
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What's been said?
The French outfit's chances of acquiring Messi are now up in smoke, much to Paredes' disappointment, who would have loved to link up with his fellow countryman at Parc des Princes after winning the 2020 Copa America alongside him with Argentina.
“Yes, there was a lot of talk at the club when it emerged that Leo could come to Paris," the PSG midfielder told ESPN. "It was a dream to imagine he could be with us next season.
"But hey, that didn't happen. I hope he likes where he plays."
PSG's failed pursuit of Messi
PSG made no secret of their desire to sign Messi, with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo both publicly confirming their interest earlier this year.
Former Barca winger Neymar also welcomed the prospect of reuniting with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner at Parc des Princes in December, while Paredes said that the club would welcome him "with open arms" in the same month.
However, Paredes backtracked three months later when he said that PSG had asked him not to talk about Messi, who is understood to have rejected several offers in favour of signing a renewal at Camp Nou.
When will Messi's new contract be announced?
Barcelona will formally announce Messi's new contract in the coming weeks, after finalising a few small details amid their struggles to reduce their overall wage bill in accordance with La Liga restrictions.
The Argentine has agreed to take a 50 per cent pay cut as the Blaugrana continue to try and cut costs, with the terms of his new deal set to keep him at Camp Nou until at least 2026.