PARIS (AP) — Marco Verratti left Paris Saint-Germain after 11 years at the club to join Al-Arabi in the Qatar Stars League on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old Italy midfielder signed a three-year contract, Al-Arabi said. Financial terms were not released but French media estimated the transfer fee to be 45 million euros ($48.3 million).
Verratti had joined PSG from Italian club Pescara in 2012 and had three years left on his contract. He was one of the first notable signings made by PSG’s ambitious Qatari-based owners after they took over in June 2011.
“I’ve been very proud to play for Paris Saint-Germain for over a decade, to rub shoulders with so many great players,” Verratti said. “Paris, the club and its fans will always hold a very special place in my heart. I’ll forever be a Parisian.”
Verratti quickly established himself in a team that would include striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, forward Edinson Cavani, holding midfielder Thiago Motta and then Neymar and Kylian Mbappé after they both joined in the summer of 2017.
Although Verratti stood out with his technical ability and poise on the ball in difficult situations, he often lost his composure in big matches, argued with referees and was hampered by injuries throughout his time at PSG.
Verratti also lacked a scoring touch to go with his skill and vision, netting only 11 goals in 416 games — the second-most appearances for the club behind former defender Jean-Marc Pilorget.
Luis Enrique has re-shaped PSG since taking charge this season, and the former Barcelona coach had made it clear that Neymar and Verratti were not in his plans. Neymar joined Al Hilal in the Saudi Pro League last month.