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Lionel Messi Suspended by PSG After Going AWOL in Saudi Arabia

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Learn more about the Messi suspension and fine that could spell the end of his time in Paris Saint-Germain — and European football — for good.

After missing a Monday training session with Paris Saint-Germain without the club’s permission to fulfill lucrative sponsorship obligations as a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia, Lionel Messi was reportedly suspended for two weeks without pay and fined by the club Tuesday. The news was first noted by French outlet RMC Sport before being confirmed by additional sources.

Assuming this Messi suspension goes into immediate effect, the soccer GOAT will miss PSG matches on May 7 at Troyes and May 13 at Marseille, the latter of whom trail the defending champions by just five points atop the Ligue 1 standings. They would then have three more domestic matches through June 3 before Messi’s contract expires and he becomes a free agent at the end of that month.

According to RMC Sport, Messi appeared in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on May 1 without permission from the club, causing him to miss a training session that day. The report notes, meanwhile, that the player’s camp insists that he was granted permission to step away and make the trip.

The suspension of the 35-year-old Messi — who turns 36 on June 24 — brings an additional layer of acrimony and bad blood between the Argentine legend and PSG, suggesting a widening rift separating the parties that definitely doesn’t seem conducive to him returning to the Parisians next season. Messi’s expiring two-year contract pays him €63.64 million per season, and given his World Cup-winning star power, he almost certainly isn’t seeking out a significant decrease in wages in his next deal.

Wherever it may be.

Click here to get the full details from Boardroom on Messi’s PSG contract.

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So, will Messi really take a deal with Saudi club Al-Hilal worth $400 million per season and join longtime nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo, who took an absurd amount of money in December to sign with Al-Nassr (amid rumors that the Portuguese legend already wants out)? Will he return to boyhood team Barcelona, whose disastrous financial restraints were the only reasons Messi had to depart the Catalan club in the first place after an all-time tenure in Spain? Will he venture off to Major League Soccer, possibly with Inter Miami at long last?

With no men’s World Cup or European championship to grab the world’s attention, the summer’s biggest international soccer attraction might just be tracking where Messi ends up in the transfer market. It sure seems like this move by PSG to have Messi suspended and fined all but assures his future won’t be spent at the Parc des Princes.

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