Lionel Messi-PSG breakup: Club will not renew contract after unapproved trip to Saudi Arabia, says report

World Cup champion was suspended for two weeks and is not allowed to train or play with the team, and he won't be paid during his suspension

By Agencies

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Published: Tue 2 May 2023, 11:06 PM

Last updated: Wed 3 May 2023, 7:36 PM

Paris St Germain forward Lionel Messi will not have his contract renewed at the club following an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, French sports daily L'Equipe reported on Tuesday. PSG had denied Messi's request to make the trip.

Messi signed an optional third-season clause in his contract when he first arrived in 2021. Club officials have decided not to activate it, the report said. The 35-year-old was suspended for two weeks on Tuesday, L'Equipe added.

A two-week suspension would mean Messi would miss PSG’s next two games. L'Equipe and RMC Sport both reported the suspension without citing sources. A person, not authorised to talk to media, told the AP that the World Cup champion won't be allowed to train or play with the team and won't be paid during his suspension.

The 35-year-old Messi has a commercial contract with Saudi Arabia to promote tourism in the Middle Eastern country.

The suspension comes at a delicate time as the French club had hoped to extend the Argentine star’s contract beyond this season.

Messi's trip followed PSG's surprise 3-1 loss to Lorient on Sunday, leaving the defending champions with a five-point lead over Marseille with five games left in the season. Messi played the full game.

L'Equipe had reported that PSG coach Christophe Galtier pledged to give his players two days off — Monday and Tuesday — if they beat Lorient. Instead, the team trained on Monday and had Tuesday off.

The forward joined PSG from Barcelona two years ago on hopes he could lead the team to an elusive Champions League title. Instead, the Qatari-backed club was eliminated in the round of 16 in consecutive seasons.

There has been speculation about where he would play next, especially after reports that contract talks with PSG had broken down. Some PSG fans have even booed Messi amid the team's inconsistent campaign.

Messi led Argentina to the World Cup title in December. He's scored 15 league goals and leads the French league with 15 assists. Messi hasn't commented publicly about the suspension on his social media accounts.


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