KEY POINTS

  • Barcelona have signed Memphis Depay on a free transfer
  • Depay scored 76 goals and 56 assists for Lyon in 4 seasons
  • He was unveiled at FC Barcelona on Thursday

Memphis Depay, who was officially unveiled at FC Barcelona on Thursday, said playing alongside Lionel Messi will be a "dream" for him.

Barcelona signed Ajax forward Depay, who became a free agent at the Amsterdam-based club at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Depay is set to join a star-filled Barcelona side that will probably include Messi once the skipper signs a new deal with the Catalans, and the Netherlands national cannot wait to work with him.

"He's a legend, best player in the world, you saw what he did in the Copa America. I'm very much looking forward to playing with him, his quality is undoubted. I have to just make my runs and I know the ball will come. Because he has too much quality, he can do everything with the ball. I think everybody in the world would like to play with someone like that," Depay was quoted by Goal, as saying in the press conference Thursday.

Depay, who has signed a contract with Barcelona until 2023, went on to say Messi might win the Ballon d’Or this year as well.

"Yesterday I had a tour of the museum and saw all of the Ballon d'Or awards, he probably has another one coming too. It's going to be a dream for me," added Depay.

Barcelona have made four signings in the 2021 summer window, but have not been able to register those players as yet due to the club's high salary bracket. They are yet to register Depay, Sergio Aguero, Emerson and Eric Garcia as they are trying to reduce their wage bill by around $236 million.

The Catalans are desperately trying to offload Antoine Griezmann, who recently became their highest earner. It happened after Messi’s salary was cut down by 50% as a part of a new deal. It was earlier reported Griezmann could be offered to Manchester City in return for either Riyad Mahrez, Sterling, Bernardo Silva, or Aymeric Laporte. But Barcelona are believed to be more interested in signing Sterling.

Meanwhile, the Dutch forward Depay is also happy about reuniting with Ronald Koeman, who was the head coach at the Netherlands national team between 2018 and 2020.

"He [Koeman] played me as center-forward. He made me feel very comfortable and must thank him for all that. I am delighted to be here. The team is ready for the new season and to start collecting titles,” Depay told Barcelona’s official website.

Depay began his career at PSV Eindhoven and made his senior debut with the club during the 2011-12 campaign. In four seasons at his boyhood club, he attracted the attention of other top European clubs as he netted 50 goals and 29 assists in 124 competitive appearances for PSV. In the summer of 2015, Depay was snapped by Manchester United, but the move turned out to be a flop as the Dutchman managed only seven goals and six assists in 53 matches for the Red Devils, across two seasons.

Memphis Depay Memphis Depay will aim to back up his sparkling performance against Club Brugge when Manchester United take on Newcastle United on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images

Depay, who had made eight competitive appearances for Manchester United during the 2016-17 season, was offloaded to Lyon in the January transfer window. The center-forward flourished for the Ligue 1 side during his four-and-a-half seasons at Lyon, scoring 76 goals and providing 56 assists in as many as 178 matches, across all tournaments.