Marco Verratti has completed his transfer to Qatar Stars League side Al Arabi, leaving Paris Saint-Germain after spending the last 11 years with the French giants.
Verratti, who won nine Ligue 1 titles with PSG and played a huge role in the club’s rise to the bracket of European elite, has signed a three-year contract with Al Arabi until 2026.
He was known at PSG for his number six shirt, but will now wear seven on his back in Qatar.
90min reported earlier this week that Al Arabi had agreed to pay €45m (£38.5m) for Verratti. He had been the subject of enquiries from Manchester City, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid. But the 30-year-old ultimately showed little desire to remain in Europe.
PSG coach Luis Enrique had been keen for Verratti to remain at Parc des Princes and talks were held between the club and the player. But his decision to leave was made after becoming unsettled over how he felt that friends Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were treated over the summer.
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PSG posted a lengthy farewell message to Verratti, who joined a teenager from local club Pescara and has surprisingly never played top flight football in his home country.
“All his opponents will tell you: seeing Marco on the pitch was only a pleasure for his teammates,” PSG’s statement read in part. “Verratti has always been whole, involved, combative. His mantra: play in the biggest events like you play in the neighbourhood: with a devouring passion.
“Marco respects football so much that he chose neither the opponents nor the competitions to swallow the kilometres and honour the coat of arms. One key word: commitment. Unreasonably sometimes, but that was part of him. We can only thank him for having given so much self-sacrifice to this jersey and always respecting these colours, never letting his determination erode over time.”
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