Achraf Hakimi confirms he rejected interest from European champions Chelsea to make his £60m move to PSG this summer, with the defender claiming he knew he ‘would have been happy’ in Paris
- Achraf Hakimi completed a £60million move to PSG from Inter Milan this year
- The Moroccan star has confirmed he rejected European champions Chelsea
- Hakimi felt he would have been happier at PSG because of the project there
- The 22-year-old admits he is surprised by how ‘simple’ and ‘quiet’ Lionel Messi is
Sportsmail revealed in June that the Blues were in talks with Hakimi’s former club Inter Milan for the Moroccan right back, with current first-choice left wing back Marcos Alonso offered to the Italian side as part of the negotiations.
Hakimi was the first of several stars based in Europe to move to Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG this summer – including Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma – and the 22-year-old admitted this project was more appealing than Chelsea’s.
Achraf Hakimi has confirmed he turned down Chelsea to join PSG for £60million this summer
Thomas Tuchel’s (above) Chelsea are European champions but Hakimi chose PSG instead
‘I had two offers, one from Chelsea and one from Paris Saint-Germain,’ Hakimi told L’Equipe, via Football Italia. ‘But I felt I had to come to Paris, that I would have been happy there.
‘PSG is a great club, I really appreciate the support the fans gave me straight away. I was lucky because so many other champions joined me. I feel good at PSG, we have a dream team and I’m happy to be a part of it.’
Hakimi admits it is ‘easy’ playing alongside new PSG star Messi but is surprised by how ‘simple’ and ‘quiet’ the Argentine is after completing a shock free transfer to the Parc des Princes after his Barcelona exit.
Hakimi’s £60m move was one of several high-profile transfers for PSG, including Lionel Messi
Messi is yet to find the net in three appearances for new club PSG and is currently out injured under Pochettino, but Hakimi is still dazzled by the 34-year-old’s performances so far.
‘For Messi to leave Barca, like everyone else, I didn’t expect it,’ the Moroccan defender added. ‘And when I heard you were coming here, what can I say? A dream for me!
‘I played with many great players and the only one I missed was Messi! I am proud to evolve with such a good footballer.
‘To progress, I will pay attention to how he trains, how he plays. It will grow the team and each of the players that make it up. We speak the same language, in addition, little by little we are getting to know each other.
Hakimi (right) admits he is surprised by how ‘simple’ and ‘quiet’ Messi is so far at PSG
Hakimi (in white) has scored more goals than Messi since the latter joined the French giants
‘Building a technical relationship with him is easy! I give him the ball, I run and he will put it where it belongs! I was surprised by the way he behaved, he is simple, quiet.’
Messi has played three games for PSG so far this season, a substitute cameo in a 2-0 victory at Lens before starting the club’s Champions League tie at Club Bruges and their 2-1 victory over Lyon, where he picked up a knee injury.
Hakimi has deputised for Messi in PSG’s goalscoring department in his absence, netting twice in their 2-1 victory over Metz in midweek, including a 95th-minute winner to keep their 100 per cent start to the season alive.
PSG continue their Ligue 1 campaign against Montpellier at home on Saturday night, before taking on Manchester City in their Champions League bid next week.