Paris: 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.
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, as he was supposed to practice with his team following a 3-1 defeat at home against Lorient in Ligue 1 on Sunday, but instead flew to Saudi Arabia.
Banned from training
The Argentina World Cup winner is banned from playing or training with the team, and his pay will be docked during his suspension.
PSG are top of the standings with 75 points from 33 matches, five points ahead of second-placed Olympique de Marseille.
Messi, who had played in PSG’s 3-1 home defeat to Lorient in Ligue 1 on Sunday, wasn’t present at the team’s training session the following day as he travelled to Saudi Arabia to attend a commercial activity as a tourism ambassador.
L’Equipe reported that PSG coach Christophe Galtier had initially planned two days off — Monday and Tuesday — for his players if they beat Lorient. Otherwise, the team would train on Monday and have Tuesday off. However, Messi made the decision to go to Saudi Arabia without getting the green light from the club.
Sides have drifted apart
A two-week suspension means that Messi will miss his team’s away match against Troyes and the home clash with Ajaccio. His contract with PSG expires at the end of this season, and it’s very likely that he has only three more games to play with the French capital team since the two sides seem to have drifted apart.
Arriving in Paris as a free agent in 2021, the 35-year-old Fifa World Cup winner scored 15 goals and registered 15 assists in Ligue 1 this season. But PSG’s failures in the Uefa Champions League have annoyed supporters, as Messi has been booed several times at the Parc des Princes by home fans over the past two seasons.