Is Lionel Messi’s time with PSG over?
The Argentine’s trip to Saudi Arabia and his consequent sanction has been the straw that broke the camel’s back at the club.
The long-expected departure of Lionel Messi from Paris Saint-Germain appears to have been confirmed, as the French club has decided not to renew the Argentine star’s contract, according to reports from L’Équipe. The decision follows Messi’s unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia on Monday, which has been seen as the final straw in a relationship that had been strained for months.
PSG punish Messi
After Messi’s return from Saudi Arabia, PSG president Nasser Al Khelaïfi held an urgent meeting with the club’s leaders in Qatar and announced that Messi would be suspended from work and would lose pay for two weeks. Consequently, the former Barcelona player will not be playing against Troyes this Sunday, and his presence against Ajaccio on May 13 is unlikely.
While negotiations for Messi’s renewal had been at a stalemate, Qatar had been willing to renew the contract of the recently crowned world champion. However, according to these reports, Al Khelaïfi has convinced the PSG hierarchy that it would be best not to renew Messi’s contract, reiterating the message that “nothing and no one is above the institution.”
Messi’s release as a free agent in June is now seen as a certainty. In August 2021, PSG and Messi had agreed on a two-season deal with the option of another additional season, subject to mutual agreement. However, as neither party appears willing to exercise the option, Messi’s departure from the club in June has become a reality.
What next for Messi?
It remains to be seen whether Messi will play for PSG again this season, as this forceful sanction has left him at a crossroads. The atmosphere in Paris is likely to be tense in the coming weeks, and we await the player’s reaction. His entourage has stated that Messi had the club’s permission to travel to Saudi Arabia, but PSG cancelled the scheduled rest day for Monday after the team’s defeat to Lorient on Sunday, leading to Messi’s ‘unauthorised’ absence.
Rumours have been rife about him playing in Saudi Arabia against old foe Cristiano Ronaldo (who may himself leave after a single year there), but the MLS or a return to Barcelona are also being touted as clear options for the Argentine.