The news of Lionel Messi's exit from PSG comes at a time when the club is embroiled in an increasingly fraught French league title race
Lionel Messi (Pic: AP)
Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season after two years at the club, coach Christophe Galtier said Thursday.
Galter said ahead of PSG's game against Clermont on Saturday that it would be Messi's last match at the Parc des Princes.
"I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of soccer," Galtier said. "This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes."
Messi's departure is believed to be a mutual decision, with his contract effectively allowed to run down since January. The development comes days after PSG suspended the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner following his trip to Saudi Arabia without the club's permission.
Messi has a commercial contract with Saudi Arabia to promote tourism in the Middle Eastern country and has been linked with a lucrative move there at the end of the season. There has also been talk of a return to Barcelona, where he spent the majority of his career, or to the United States to play in MLS. Barring a late change of heart from him or PSG, this seems certain be his final season in the French capital. His suspension and news of his exit comes at a time when PSG is embroiled in an increasingly fraught French league title race.
It looks like it will be a disappointing end to a turbulent and somewhat underwhelming two-season spell at a club where soap opera-style drama, on and off the field, is rarely far away given the presence of other superstars like Kylian Mbappé and Neymar in the squad. It also exposes the tensions now that Qatar and Saudi Arabia gulf neighbors and fierce recent rivals in regional politics have become major influencers in the world of soccer.
Messi is right in the middle of it all, through his own making and because everyone inside and outside the game wants a piece of one of the all-time greats. The Argentina forward never intended to be playing for PSG, a club owned by Qatar Sports Investments, but found himself moving there in 2021 after previous team Barcelona, the soccer love of his life, plunged into financial problems that still persist.
(With AP inputs)