Memphis Depay has revealed his excitement at the prospect of teaming up with Lionel Messi, describing the Argentina international as ‘a legend’ during his Barcelona unveiling.
Barça announced they’d secured the signing of the Dutchman over a month ago, though they’ve had to wait until now to unveil their new arrival at Camp Nou.
Despite finally getting his hands on a Barcelona shirt, doubts still remain over Depay’s participation for Barcelona next season, with the club currently unable to register the Netherlands international having exceeded La Liga’s salary cap.
Nonetheless, Depay wasn’t going to let that spoil his big moment, and he discussed a number of topics including what it means to play for a club like Barcelona and the ‘dream’ of being a teammate of Messi’s.
Club president Joan Laporta was also present at the unveiling and he addressed the recent speculation surrounding the future of Antoine Griezmann – a target for at least two Premier League clubs – with the Frenchman rumoured to be on his way out of Camp Nou.
To save you filtering through hours of clips on social media, here’s the best bits from Depay’s unveiling…
“It’s a dream [to play alongside Messi],” he said (via Barcelona’s official social media account). “Watching all his games, he’s a legend. I don’t need to say much. The best player in the world.
“You see what he did in the Copa America so I’m looking forward to playing with him. I think everybody in the world would like to play with a player like him. Yesterday I had tour in the museum and you see all the Ballon d’Ors he’s won, and there’ll probably be another one soon.”
“It’s been a long conversation but the will was always there,” he said. “I would like to thank the president and also my team for all the effort they put in to make the deal happen.
“With all the passion that is in this club from the board, the fans, the players, the city and also the reporters, everyone here knows the importance of the club and I definitely realise how big this club is and what an impact it had on me as a child.
“Now to be here as a 27-year-old guy chasing my dream I think it’s amazing. I’m looking forward to playing in a full stadium and I’m really excited to meet all the fans. The team is ready for the new season, we had a good rest and now it’s time to go back to work and bring trophies in.
“[Koeman] had a big impact. I know him from the national team – he put me in the centre-forward position and it did a lot. In the games that I played under the coach I did a lot of things that created chances and goals.
“I think he made me feel confident to play in a different role, he tried my through the middle and it worked. Obviously he made the step to Barcelona and from then we stayed in contact. He tried to convince me to come last season already.
“I think now was the right moment so obviously it was the influence of the coach but you cannot say no to Barcelona so I would have came anyway.”
“We have no problem with [Griezmann], we’re very happy with him,” Laporta remarked.
“If the market starts to move in a certain direction, we’re open to all types of proposals, because we’re in a very delicate moment. We have to comply with fair play rules & reduce wage bill.”