Lionel Messi will reportedly ‘leave’ French giants PSG this summer as they have ‘no plans’ to offer him a new contract.
The 35-year-old, who is due to expire next month, has been mocked by PSG fans during recent matches and his unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia this week has led to his suspension from the French club.
Kylian Mbappe’s contract renewal last year, although it came at a huge cost, is seen as part of a new strategy. Messi, however, seems to no longer be part of their plans.
Sky Sports report that «Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, with the Ligue 1 club unwilling to offer the striker a new contract.»
Unauthorized travel to Saudi Arabia has upped the ante even further and it is understood that he was suspended for two weeks from training and matches.
The Saudi Tourism Authority released details of Messi’s trip to Riyadh on Wednesday. The player and his family «indulged in a fine dining experience» at Al Bujairi Terrace, visited the VIA Riyadh luxury shopping complex and also visited the 300-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site in Diriyah.
Before heading to Diriyah, the family had been to a farm where they fed Arabian gazelles, the statement said.
Amnesty International said earlier this year that Messi’s role as ambassador to Saudi Arabia was part of the country’s «aggressive sports-washing programme», with Saudi authorities «seeking to exploit the sport’s celebrity glamor from elite to divert attention from the country’s appalling human rights record.»
A report from The Telegraph states «The Saudi Arabian government is preparing the most lucrative salary deal in football history to bring Lionel Messi to its Saudi Pro League this summer.» they add.
Negotiations are underway with Messi’s representatives, led by his father Jorge, for when the player will become a free agent at the end of June when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires.
«There are discussions that the whole package could be worth $400m a year (£320m) which would also exceed the £165m Cristiano Ronaldo gets paid every year to play in Saudi Arabia until the summer of 2025.» .
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It has also been reported that Barcelona are hoping to bring Messi back. Journalist Ben Jacobs says the forward «wants to stay in Europe».
«A Messi return is still a pretty big deal for Barcelona to pull off, but Joan Laporta has repeatedly said the club has a ‘moral debt’ to bring him back. No formal offer yet, but Barça say they he’s working on it.
‘Senior Al-Hilal sources have always called Messi’s signing ‘a dream’. Huge support from the Saudi government. It’s only if it’s right for Messi. Inter Miami also seriously considered signing him.
‘The feeling remains that Messi wants to stay in Europe, though. This gives Barcelona hope and potentially also invites some new surprise suitors.’
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