JUST IN: PSG suspend Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has been hit with a ban and a fine by Paris Saint-Germain after the star made a mid-season trip to Saudi Arabia.
The 35-year-old took a trip to Saudi Arabia after PSG’s Ligue 1 defeat to Lorient. The move was reportedly not approved by manager Christophe Galtier, with the club having since taken action.
Messi received a backlash following the trip, with teammates said to have been left shocked. The Argentina international, a World Cup winner with his country in 2022, is a tourism ambassador for the Middle East nation but was not given permission by Galtier to take the trip.
Messi is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the current season, with a number of clubs interested in moving for the veteran. There is interest from Saudi Arabia and the United States, while former club Barcelona are also keen to bring him back to Camp Nou.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been vocal on the club’s relationship with Messi, though no deal has been secured. The Catalan side are understood to be making a number of cuts in an effort to ensure their financial position allows them to complete a move.
Messi left Barca for PSG in 2021, having spent his entire career at Camp Nou up to that point. He has scored 20 goals this season, with only Kylian Mbappe netting more for the reigning champions, but his future remains uncertain after failing to deliver Champions League glory.
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Messi played the full 90 minutes for PSG against Lorient, as Galtier’s side fell to a surprise 3-1 home defeat. The league leaders went in 2-1 behind at the break, while Achraf Hakimi’s red card left them a man down, and Bamba Dieng made the points safe for the visitors.