Fans tuning in to PSG’s match on Sunday, May 7 against relegation-threatened Troyes will notice that forward Kylian Mbappe is all by himself up front in the attack, without fellow superstars Neymar or Lionel Messi alongside him.
Neymar has been out for several weeks with a serious ankle injury that ended his season, but Messi’s absence up front is a new development.
The Argentine has been in fine form throughout the spring months as PSG chased the Ligue 1 title, contributing four goals in their last four games.
Yet against Troyes, Messi is not with the team and he won’t be against Auxerre the following weekend either. Some have speculated that Lionel Messi is likely to have played his last game for PSG after being suspended by the club for missing training during an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia.
Although Messi eventually apologized in a message posted on social media, the punishment from the club has reportedly irreparably damaged his relationship with PSG and he will not be involved in their final push for the Ligue 1 title.
PSG have released a squad list of players who will be tasked with extending their three-point lead over Lens in the table with five games remaining in the campaign.
Lionel Messi suspended by PSG
The suspension was triggered after Messi and his family visited Saudi Arabia to fulfill sponsorship duties with the Saudi Arabian tourism board. The trip was reportedly not previously approved by the club, and he was absent from PSG’s Monday training without approval by the coaches or executive staff.
Although PSG players usually have the day off on Mondays, the players were called into training after an embarrassing 3-1 home loss to Lorient the day before.
According to a report by L’Equipe, the players openly speculated about preferential treatment from the club towards Messi upon his absence from training on Monday, before PSG chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi decided to hand down the suspension.
Multiple reports, including by L’Equipe, claim that Messi will not be paid his wages during the two-week suspension, and he cannot train with the club during that time.
Will Lionel Messi play for PSG again?
There is strong speculation that Lionel Messi has played his final game for PSG.
According to Tariq Panja of the New York Times, there is a “chance” that Messi does not return to the club following his suspension.
Panja also adds that Messi will not return to PSG next season, with his contract set to expire this summer. That report was substantiated by other reports from France.
Messi has been linked with a move elsewhere this summer, and while it seemed an extension with PSG could be signed following the 2022 World Cup, that now seems like a remote option.