Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have suspended Lionel Messi and fined him two weeks’ wages after he travelled to Saudi Arabia without permission for a personal promotional trip. Messi had asked PSG for permission to visit the country but did not receive it, leading to the suspension. The club’s response shows a new policy whereby no one is bigger than the club, and the same rules apply to everyone. Messi will miss two upcoming Ligue 1 matches but could return on May 21 for the match against Auxerre.
The World Cup winner is in the final months of a two-year deal with Ligue 1 leaders PSG, and it was reported last month that he wanted to witness their sporting plans for next season before committing to a new contract. Messi already serves as a tourism ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal want to sign him this summer when his contract at PSG runs out. The club is prepared to pay him £400m for just one season to market a league that contains both Cristiano Ronaldo and the 2022 World Cup winner. However, Barcelona has attempted to step up their efforts to make Messi a contract offer this summer by talking to LaLiga about generating more flexibility in their Financial Fair Play ratio.
The response from PSG to Messi’s unauthorized trip shows the club’s new policy, where the same rules will apply to everyone, regardless of their status within the club. Messi’s suspension and fine will make it difficult for him to renegotiate his contract with PSG, which is set to expire in the coming months. Nevertheless, the possibility of Messi signing with Al Hilal or returning to Barcelona remains, and it will be interesting to see how his future unfolds in the coming months.