Lionel Messi to stay? PSG have not yet withdrawn contract offer despite slapping forward with two-week ban for Saudi trip

Lionel Messi 2022-23
Lionel Messi's future may still be in Paris, despite a tumultuous week where the megastar was suspended for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.
  • Contract extension still on table
  • Apology calmed waters
  • World Cup winner weighs options

WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner's time in the French capital was seemingly drawing to an acrimonious conclusion as the club reacted furiously to the player skipping training for a promotional trip to Saudi Arabia. Messi was handed a two-week ban and became the target of abuse by fans after the trip as speculation turned to where one of the game's great future may lie. But the Sunday Times reports that PSG still remain very much open to Messi continuing in Paris.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi's unexpected public apology on Friday served to soothe matters at the Qatari-owned club considerably. In the calm after the storm, the situation surrounding the player's future seems to be the same as before with the offer of a lucrative extension on the table as PSG patiently allow the Argentine to evaluate his options.

AND WHAT'S MORE: PSG remain confident that their offer is the most lucrative one available if Messi continues to want to play Champions League football. A fairytale return to Barcelona would require a remarkable feat of accounting given Barca's financial situation and La Liga's strict financial controls. Long-standing interest from MLS and a potential offer from Al Hilal are also in the mix.

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WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI & PSG? PSG were true to their word, leaving Messi out of the squad for their crucial trip to Troyes on Sunday. He will also miss next week's home fixture against Ajaccio as PSG attempt to close out a title win that has become rather laborious work.