PARIS – Paris Saint-Germain confirmed the arrival of Argentinian football giant Lionel Messi on Tuesday after leaving Barcelona after 20 years in a move that is expected to boost sales of football products and his own brand of clothing.
The French club posted a teaser video on Twitter showing jump cuts from the Eiffel Tower, a hand holding a pen signing a contract and the silhouette of the player with the slogans “New diamond in Paris” and “Mercato Update”. The post garnered over 22,000 likes in less than 15 minutes.
The announcement ended a few suspenseful days which saw French fans camping out at the Parc des Princes football stadium in hopes of catching a glimpse of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner. Media provided detailed accounts of his whereabouts, while fans followed the flight path of his private jet, which landed at Le Bourget.
In a tearful press conference on Sunday, the 34-year-old said he wanted to stay at Barca, but the club’s dire financial situation made it impossible.
According to media reports, Messi has entered into a two-year contract with PSG, with a one-year extension option. He will join Neymar and Kilian Mbappé in what has been described as a dream team – provided Mbappé stays at the club.
The deal would be worth € 75million for the first two years, plus a signing bonus of € 25million, confirming Messi’s status as one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. But PSG are poised to recoup the cost quickly, with industry watchers predicting sales of its shirts, produced by Nike’s Jordan brand, could increase by 200,000 to 300,000 units.
The move should also benefit Messi’s own fashion line. Ginny Hilfiger, Founder and Creative Director of MGO Team, the company that developed the Messi brand, said the company has been very successful in the ecommerce world.
“We are delighted that Leo is taking the step. He was delighted to work for Barcelona and stay, but political and financial events occurred which were unfortunate. We know he is the best player in the world and wherever he goes he will shine, ”said Hilfiger, who is Tommy Hilfiger’s sister.
She noted that the Messi brand she designs is a lifestyle brand and does not produce the Barcelona jerseys. Nike makes them.
Ginny Hilfiger has said she expects Messi’s move to PSG to catapult her label’s business. The Messi online store sells a casual lifestyle collection with a sporty twist. The iconic stripes are red, light blue and navy blue, which she says will go well with the PSG squad.
“It’s a bit versatile,” she said. “The colors of PSG are similar to those of Barcelona with red and blue, and the colors of the French flag.” Hilfiger said they need to make sure he will always be number 10.
The Messi brand was launched in September 2019 and has grown to include pullovers, hoodies, sweatshirts and zip-up jackets. The company offers denim and a sustainable collection, as well as accessories. The line is available on Themessistore.com.
According to Maximiliano Ojeda, founder and CEO of MGO Team, the line was shipped to over 110 countries in the first year. “The good thing is that Leo Messi is such a global name, and every movement has an impact, which is always positive as he engages with more people,” he said.
Ojeda noted that Messi had 185 million followers last January, and that figure has risen to over 245 million Instagram followers. “He continues to grow and have more followers,” he said.
Between Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, the Messi brand has 1.6 million followers. “Our target is 2 million by the end of the year,” Ojeda said. Although he said some people would be disappointed if Messi left Barcelona, he expects his path to continue to grow.
Currently, the United States accounts for over 50% of Messi Store’s business. The label is also present in Canada, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom and France. It seeks to expand in the Middle East, South America and China.
The Messi Store is also available as an app on Android and Apple mobile devices. The company expects the number of downloads to be in six digits by the end of the year. He is also planning to live-stream some pre-holiday events and launch duty-free shops near Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.
The current bestsellers are tops, t-shirts and hoodies, Ojeda said. Another novelty is the expansion of the Messi brand into underwear, swimwear, socks and loungewear, which is expected at the end of this year or early next year, as well as subscription services for these categories.
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