Lionel Messi’s time with PSG is coming to a close in June, and it’s already beginning to feel that way after the French club suspended the Argentina World Cup hero.
Messi’s relationship with the French club has been booed at times by PSG supporters over the past few months as the Parisians limp towards the 2022/23 finish, and has been slowly strained by the club’s struggles on the pitch and his perceived role within them.
Now, after taking a trip abroad that was allegedly not previously approved by PSG, Messi has been officially punished. And it wasn’t even a slap on the wrist.
PSG suspend Messi for Saudi Arabia trip
On Tuesday, May 2, it was reported by French outlets L’Equipe and RMC Sport that Lionel Messi had been suspended for two weeks by PSG due to an unauthorised trip.
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 training without approval by the coaches or executive staff.
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.
How much will suspension cost Messi?
Given his $41 million per season salary, those amount to wages of around $788,500 per week.
Based on that rough calculation, two weeks of docked wages would hit Messi in the pocket by around $1.6 million.
How many games will Lionel Messi miss with suspension?
Lionel Messi will miss two games due to his club suspension.
During his time away from the club, PSG will play two relegation-threatened clubs, Troyes (18th in the table) on Sunday, May 7, and Ajaccio (19th) on Saturday, May 13.
- Sunday, May 7: Troyes vs. PSG
- Saturday, May 13: PSG vs. Ajaccio
Messi would then presumably be available for the match against Auxerre () on Sunday, May 21 before the final two league games of the season against Strasbourg (May 27) and Clermont Foot (June 3).
Messi’s absence could prove costly for PSG since they are just five points above second-place Marseille in the French Ligue 1 table. PSG were beaten by Lorient at home last time out, falling 3-1 after Achraf Hakimi’s 20th minute red card.
Will Messi play for PSG again?
There is 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 reports further 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 a remote option.
Source: The Sporting News