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April 24, 2024
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PSG suspend Lionel Messi over unauthorised Saudi Arabia visit

PSG Messi

Lionel Messi has reportedly been suspended for two weeks without pay by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) following an unapproved travel to Saudi Arabia this week.

The 35-year-old last appeared for the Parisians in their 3-1 Ligue 1 loss to Lorient on Sunday, playing the entire 90 minutes at the Parc des Princes.

According to Sky Sports News, Messi, who is a tourist ambassador for Saudi Arabia, requested permission from PSG to travel to the Middle Eastern country and attend commercial events.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, however, was spotted in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Monday, with the country’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb publishing photographs of the forward’s visit on social media.

“I am happy to welcome Messi and his family to Saudi to enjoy the magical tourist destinations and authentic experiences,”

a tweet from Al-Khateeb read.

“We welcome visitors from all around the world to experience a unique trip to Saudi Arabia and its hospitality.”

The 2022 World Cup champion is believed to have returned to Paris on Tuesday and recently uploaded a photograph of palm trees with the caption:

“Who thought Saudi has so much green? I love to explore its unexpected wonders whenever I can. #visitsaudi.”

Following several meetings with the French club’s hierarchy, PSG is said to have handed Messi a two-week suspension from all football activities, including team training, and he has also been fined two weeks’ wages.

PSG have yet to formally declare any punishment for their No.30, but French news outlet Agence France-Presse has revealed that the current Ligue 1 winners will “discipline football star Lionel Messi over his trip to Saudi Arabia” via journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Messi is thus set to miss PSG’s next two Ligue 1 matches against Troyes and Ajaccio, with Christophe Galtier’s side are leading the table by five points, but the attacker could be available for an away meeting against Auxerre on May 21.

Messi has spent the last two seasons at Parc des Princes, appearing in 71 games for PSG in all competitions, scoring 31 goals and contributing 34 assists.

However, with the forward’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, speculation about his future has been rife, with a possible return to Catalan giants Barcelona being mooted for several months.

PSG are said to have the option to extend Messi’s contract for another 12 months, but L’Equipe, via The Guardian, says that the French club has decided not to use the option.

Messi is reportedly eager to return to Camp Nou, but Barcelona’s well-documented financial woes may pose a stumbling block in their pursuit of the club legend.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal is keen to bring Messi to the Middle East and is willing to make him the highest-paid footballer in the world, while a move to MLS with Inter Miami has also been discussed.

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