Lionel Messi’s stint at Paris Saint-Germain is nearing its end. With his contract set to expire this summer, the Argentine legend is poised to become a free agent and seek a new club. On Wednesday, CBS Sports soccer insider Fabrizio Romano reported that he will certainly depart the club at the end of the season, as his father Jorge Messi communicated the decision to PSG a month ago. Despite ongoing rumors about a possible contract extension, recent events make that outcome unlikely.
Messi’s Trip To Saudi Arabia Not Received Well
The events of the past 48 hours have led to the development of Messi’s new contract being highly unlikely. PSG suffered an unexpected loss to Lorient in Ligue 1 play, followed by the star taking an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia with his family for a promotional commercial agreement. Messi’s failure to report to training on Monday led to the club fining and suspending him for two weeks, making him unavailable for upcoming league games against Troyes and Ajaccio.
As a result, Messi’s relationship with the French club has severely soured, and he has been linked with a move to his former club FC Barcelona and MLS side Inter Miami CF. Additionally, Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal has made a stunning €400 million-a-year offer for Messi to join the same league as Cristiano Ronaldo. The pro league is also targeting other high-profile veteran stars, and according to a report from the Telegraph, they are once again preparing a massive deal for the Argentine icon.
The Argentine’s unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia did not sit well with club leadership. Tuesday’s report stating that his contract will not be extended at the end of the season is not surprising given recent events since his arrival two seasons ago. It now seems more convenient for both parties to part ways and start anew.
PSG currently lead Marseille by five points with five games left in the season. Messi’s suspension will be lifted in two weeks, allowing him to return to the club, which may have already secured the league title by then. Only three games will remain on the season schedule: away at Auxerre on May 21, away at Strasbourg on May 27, and a home game against Clermont Foot on June 3.
Free Agent For The Second Time
Messi’s contract with PSG expires at the end of June, making him a free agent for the second time in his career. In 2021, he left Barcelona due to their financial struggles and joined PSG, where he had an underwhelming first season, scoring only 11 goals in 34 games. However, he has been more productive in his second season, with 20 goals in 37 games.
Like his teammates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Messi’s time at PSG has been marred by disappointment in the UEFA Champions League, failing to make it past the round of 16 for the past two seasons. Messi has been with Barcelona since he was 13 years old, and his departure from the club due to financial constraints caused shockwaves throughout the soccer world.
<img decoding="async" width="400" height="400" src="https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?resize=400%2C400&ssl=1" alt="" class="wp-image-24342 lazyload" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?w=400&ssl=1 400w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?resize=300%2C300&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1 150w, https://i0.wp.com/stadiumrant.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2023/04/image.png?resize=100%2C100&ssl=1 100w" sizes="(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Where Should Messi Go?
Barcelona presents a romantic and realistic option for Messi to consider. Like getting back together with an ex, it would be a dream return for both the club and fans. The basketball world saw Michael Jordan and LeBron James return to their former teams, and in soccer, Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, and Ronaldo all made comebacks. For Messi, returning to Barcelona would be an even bigger story due to his popularity and the current state of soccer.
Messi left Barcelona due to the club’s financial struggles, but over the last two years, they have invested heavily in the squad despite these obstacles. It’s unclear how many more “levers” the club can pull to make the finances work, but it’s been clear for months that President Joan Laporta and the team will do their best to bring Messi back.
Returning to Barcelona would give Messi another chance at the Champions League with a more well-rounded squad than when he left, and it would be a homecoming for the player who is synonymous with the club. It’s a chance to write the next chapter in his Barcelona story.