Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi has apologized for his ‘unauthorized’ trip to Saudi Arabia that has led to his being suspended by the French club. Messi admitted in an apology video on social media that he “thought he had the day off” after Sunday’s 3-1 home Ligue 1 defeat to Lorient and is now “waiting to hear” from the club over his future.
First of all, I want to apologize to my teammates and the club. Honestly, I thought we were going to have a day off after the game like we did in previous weeks. I had this trip organized, which I had canceled already. I could not cancel it again. I repeat I want to say sorry for what I did. I am waiting to hear what the club wants to do with me.”
Messi said in a video message
Following his suspension, it was revealed on Wednesday that Messi will leave PSG at the end of the season, with the French champions not planning to offer the forward a new contract.
French media reported that Messi was suspended for two weeks after an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia when he was supposed to train with the squad following the Ligue 1 leaders’ 3-1 defeat at home to Lorient on Sunday.
I sincerely believed that I would have the day off after the game as had been happening in previous weeks. I had this trip organized and I couldn’t cancel it, I had already canceled it before, Messi said in a video on Instagram.
PSG coach Christophe Galtier said earlier on Friday that he had nothing to do with the club’s decision to suspend Messi, who is set to miss the next two matches at Troyes and home to Ajaccio as they look to keep their Ligue 1 lead intact.
Messi and PSG will have discussions about the player’s immediate future with the club when he returns from suspension, Galtier said. Messi is not expected to extend his contract, and only five games are remaining this season.
Galtier was asked at a news conference if he’ll be able to count on the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner returning to the field after the suspension.
We’ll see when Leo returns what will happen. Obviously, there will be discussions with the entire club but also with Leo, who is the primary person involved.”
The 35-year-old Messi joined PSG in 2021 after winning every major honor with Barcelona. The Catalan club that Messi had called home from the age of 13 couldn’t afford to keep him because of large debts and Spanish league financial regulations.
For Galtier, though, fans crossed the line when they protested outside the Brazil international’s residence this week. Private life must remain private, he said. I can understand the anger, the disappointment of our fans. I can understand protesting here at our workplace, in front of PSG’s headquarters, after a match at Parc des Princes, he added. But going to private homes is “out of control and dangerous,” he said.
Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal wants to sign Messi this summer when his contract at PSG runs out and, with the backing of the country, is prepared to pay him an astronomical £400m for just one season to market a league that would contain both Cristiano Ronaldo and the 2022 World Cup winner.
Tourism minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb tweeted a welcome to Messi on Monday as well as posting pictures of the Argentina World Cup winner, only hours after he had played 90 minutes of PSG’s defeat to Lorient, which cut their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to just five points with as many games remaining.
I am happy to welcome Messi and his family to Saudi to enjoy the magical tourist destinations and authentic experiences, Al-Khateeb tweeted. “We welcome visitors from all around the world to experience a unique trip to Saudi Arabia and its hospitality.”
Messi joined PSG in the summer of 2021 on a two-year deal after leaving Barcelona due to their financial issues. The 35-year-old has played 71 times for the French side, scoring 31 goals, recording 34 assists, and lifting the title in 2022.