Paris Saint-Germain are not planning to extend Lionel Messi’s contract once it expires this summer as the Argentina legend is primed to hit free agency in search for another club, according to French publication L’Equipe on Tuesday.
This development is one of the consequences of the past 48 hours, which saw PSG suffer a shock home defeat to Lorient in League 1 play followed by Messi taking an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia with his family as part of a promotional commercial agreement. As a result of failing to report to training on Monday, the club has fined and suspended Messi for two weeks, which makes him unavailable for league games at Troyes and against Ajaccio.
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FC Barcelona, Messi’s former club, and MLS side Inter Miami CF have been linked with the 2022 World Cup winner as the relationship with the French club appears to have soured. Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal made a stunning €400-million-a-year offer for Messi to join the same league as Cristiano Ronaldo. And Messi, who is already a Saudi tourism ambassador, isn’t the only high-profile veteran star being targeted by the pro league.
His trip to Saudi Arabia was received poorly by club leadership and Tuesday’s report that his contract won’t be extended at season’s end has always felt like the end result with how things have gone since his dramatic arrival two seasons ago. At this stage, it feels like more of a convenience for the parties to go their separate ways and start anew.
PSG are five points ahead of Marseille with five games to go. Once the suspension is lifted in two weeks, Messi could return to a club that may have wrapped up the league title and will only have three games remaining on the season: at Auxerre (May 21), at Strasbourg (May 27) and at home against Clermont Foot (June 3).
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Messi’s contract expires at the end of June, making him a free agent for just the second time in his career. In 2021, he left Barcelona after the club could not afford his renewal due to their fledgling financial situation. As a result, he left the club he had been apart of since the age of 13 for PSG. He had an underwhelming first season in the French capital with 11 goals in 34 games, showing more production in this second season with 20 goals in 37 games. Similarly to Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Messi’s time at PSG has been marked by UEFA Champions League disappointment, as the trio failed to make it past the round of 16 the past two seasons.