Pjanic delighted to play alongside Messi at Barcelona


  • Other Sports
  • Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Pre Season Friendly - FC Barcelona v Gimnastic Tarragona - Johan Cruyff Stadium, Barcelona, Spain - September 12, 2020 FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Gimnastic Tarragona's Thomas Amang REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Miralem Pjanic is looking forward to playing with want-away Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, the midfielder said as he was finally presented on Tuesday following his move from Juventus.

The Bosnian was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and had to quarantine before starting to train with Barcelona last week, after joining in June for 65 million euros ($77 million).

Playing alongside talisman Messi was an attraction, but the Barcelona No. 10 tried to force his way out of the club during the close season before eventually relenting.

"I can't imagine Messi in another shirt, I thought it would all end well," said Pjanic, who takes the No. 8 shirt worn by Andres Iniesta and later Arthur, who recently joined Juventus.

"My will was to play with (Messi) and I didn't have any doubts."

Aged 30, Pjanic's arrival has been criticised in some quarters as Barcelona's first-team is already viewed as ageing.

"I would have liked to had come here at the age of six, but the transfer market is how it is," said Pjanic. "I've had a good career and I respect my (former) clubs, but I've reached the biggest and I'm happy.

"I read what happened with Messi. His story with the club has been incredible, he's a champion, a winner, I think this is his home. We will try to win trophies with him."

While Messi was not allowed to leave Camp Nou, Barcelona are working on selling Arturo Vidal.

Sporting director Ramon Planes, who sat alongside Pjanic during the news conference, explained the Chilean midfielder is close to leaving, with Spanish and Italian reports citing Inter Milan as his destination.

"Arturo Vidal is in advanced negotiations to leave, I want to give him thanks for what he has done during the last two years, he's a player with a big heart," said Planes.

($1 = 0.8432 euros)

(Reporting by Rik Sharma, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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