Only three games left for Lionel Messi! PSG won't extend Argentine's contract after suspension for Saudi trip
- Messi took unsolicited trip to Saudi
- Contract talks were already stalling
- Seen as final nail in coffin as renewal now off
WHAT HAPPENED? The 35-year-old travelled to the Middle East following PSG's shock 3-1 defeat to Lorient on Sunday. It is thought that Messi made the journey as part of his duties as the Gulf state's tourism ambassador. But it was reported on Tuesday that this move was not sanctioned by the club, as training was scheduled for that day. As a result, the Argentine received a two-week suspension without pay, but L'Equipe are now reporting a much more severe punishment.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: It is now understood that PSG will not be renewing Messi's contract at the end of the season. As has been widely reported, the Argentina star will see his current deal expire this summer, although the capital club did have the option to trigger a clause for a third season. While senior officials at the club were said to have been leaning towards letting Messi leave, negotiations were still ongoing and an extension was still a plausible option. However, it now appears that the Saudi trip was the final nail in the coffin, with Messi's departure this summer now a certainty.
AND WHAT'S MORE: As a result of his two-week ban handed down from the club, Messi now has just three more games in a PSG shirt. The developments are a significant boost to Barcelona's hopes of re-signing the Argentina star, despite the financial implications that this may bring to the club. Other interested parties include MLS side Inter Miami and, curiously, Saudi outfit Al-Hilal.
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WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? The Argentine's three remaining games for PSG after his suspension - should manager Christophe Galtier select him - will come against Auxerre, Strasbourg and Clermont, before he calls time on a spell in France that has seen him rack up 31 goals and 34 assists in 71 appearances.