World Cup winner Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, having recently been suspended by the Ligue 1 side for making an unauthorised visit to Saudi Arabia
Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer, having been suspended for two weeks by the club just this week.
The World Cup winner was believed to have reached an agreement in principle to stay at the club beyond this season. However, it has now emerged that neither Messi nor PSG now want to sign that contract.
The Argentina legend is understood to lack belief the Parisians can compete for the Champions League, which has been the main goal of their Qatar’s owners since they took control of the Ligue 1 outfit.
His father Jorge is reported to have communicated the decision to PSG already one month ago due to the project, which proved to be the final breaking point.
Wednesday’s bombshell news follows Messi’s suspension by the club for making an unauthorised visit to Saudi Arabia. He travelled after PSG’s home defeat by Lorient on Sun day without the club’s permission.
The 35-year-old, who has a role as a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia, is expected to miss matches against Troyes on Sunday and AC Ajaccio on May 13. He will reportedly not train with the club, or be paid, for the two weeks. Messi played the full 90 minutes of the 3-1 loss to Lorient which left PSG just five points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1.
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Saudi minister of tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb posted snaps of Messi’s visit this week, showing pictures of the football icon with his family. The caption read: “I am happy to welcome #Messi and his family to Saudi to enjoy the magical tourist destinations and authentic experiences. We welcome visitors from all around the world to experience a unique trip to Saudi Arabia and its hospitality.”
There will now be a clamour for Messi, who has scored 24 PSG goals this season, to return to Barcelona, the club he left two years following a glittering era of success with the Catalans. However, the La Liga leaders’ financial problems could scupper any hopes of an emotional return to the Nou Camp.
A mega-money move to the Middle East, where his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo now plays, could beckon instead.