Miralem Pjanic said he never doubted he would end up playing with Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona this season, when he was presented as the club’s new player on Tuesday.
FC Barcelona signed Pjanic from Juventus at the end of June, but Messi’s flirtation with a departure from the club had placed their future as team-mates in jeopardy.
But the Bosnia international told reporters, “I couldn’t see Messi with another shirt. I thought it was impossible for things not to be sorted out.
“My desire was to play with him. I have been lucky enough to play alongside players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Francesco Totti.
“Messi’s history with the club has been incredible. He is a great champion and a winner.
“I think this is his home. He is the greatest player of all time. And we will try to win trophies with him.”
The 30-year-old Pjanic signed his four-year contract at the Camp Nou on Tuesday and showed off his new number eight shirt.
His presentation had been delayed because he tested positive for COVID-19 in August.
He said: “It’s impossible to know where you catch the virus. I have worked at home in Turin since.
“I would have preferred to be here, but I had to respect the rules. I have worked hard at home and now I will join the group.
“I feel good and want to speak the language as soon as possible to communicate with my team-mates.”
FC Barcelona need to move players out before the window shuts on Oct. 5.
However, in spite of having told Luis Suarez he is surplus to requirements, he remains at the club with one year left on his contract.
The club’s technical secretary Ramon Planes said: “Suarez is an important player. We have to respect the players who have given so much.
“We have to respect them and their contracts. The market closes on Oct. 5 and a lot can happen between now and then.”
Asked about Arturo Vidal who is understood to be close to joining Inter Milan in Italy, Planes added: “The negotiation is advanced.
“I want to thank him for what he has given us these two years. He is a player with a big heart.”
Planes also admitted the club would try to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia this summer if they could.
“It’s true that we are looking for someone to help us in defence,” said Planes.
“Eric Garcia is a great player, made in Barcelona, who loves the club. But whether or not he can join depends on the market.”
FC Barcelona will try to see defenders Samuel Umtiti and Jean-Clair Todibo to finance the move.
The alternative is to wait for next summer when Garcia will be a free agent.
FC Barcelona begin the season under new coach Ronald Koeman at home to Villarreal on Sept. 27.(dpa/NAN)