Messi to leave Paris St-Germain at end of season, coach confirms

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Lionel Messi scored PSG's only goal against Strasbourg in their draw on May 27, 2023, at Stade de la Meinau stadium in Strasbourg [Jean-Francois Badias/AP Photo]

The question now is where the Argentine forward will play after his final match for the French club on Saturday.

Argentina football great Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the end of the season after two years at the club, according to coach Christophe Galtier.

PSG’s game against Clermont on Saturday will be Messi’s last match at the Parc des Princes, Galter said on Thursday. Messi’s contract expires at the end of June.

The move for Messi, who has 21 goals and 20 assists for PSG in all competitions this season, comes after he moved to the French capital from Barcelona on a two-year contract.

The 35-year-old, who led Argentina to a world championship at the Qatar World Cup in December and also boasts a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, won the Ligue 1 title in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons with PSG as well as the French Super Cup in July 2022.

“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football,” Galtier said. “This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes.”

PSG recruited Messi in August 2021 with the ambition to finally win the Champions League. The team is still waiting.

Messi’s adventure in France has been bittersweet. In spite of pretty good statistics, he has been embodying the team’s shortcomings in the view of many PSG fans who have repeatedly whistled and booed his name in recent weeks.

Last month, French media reported that Messi was suspended for two weeks after an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia when he was supposed to train with his team following their 3-1 defeat at home to Lorient in the league.

“This year, he has been an important part of the team, always available. I don’t think any of the comments or criticisms are justified,” Galtier said.

“He’s always been there for the team. It’s been a great privilege to accompany him throughout the season.”

Messi’s future at PSG had been the subject of much speculation recently with reports saying he had received a formal offer to join Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal next season.

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 the MLS.

Messi arrived at Barcelona at the age of 13 and left having won 35 titles. He helped the club win the Champions League four times, the Spanish league 10 times, the Copa del Rey seven times and the Spanish Super Cup eight times.

Messi is also the team’s all-time scorer with 672 goals in 778 appearances, and the top scorer in the Spanish league with 474 goals in 520 matches.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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