Lionel Messi, the Argentina captain and Paris St-Germain (PSG) player, has been suspended by the club for two weeks and fined for travelling to Saudi Arabia without permission this week. Messi had asked for permission to make the trip for commercial work, but was refused. The 35-year-old is a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia. His two-year contract with PSG will expire this summer.
During his suspension, Messi will not be able to train or play for PSG, and will miss matches against Troyes and Ajaccio as the club looks to clinch a ninth league title in 11 seasons. Barcelona vice-president Rafael Yuste had claimed in March that the Spanish club were in contact with Messi about a return to the Nou Camp.
In his time at PSG, Messi has scored 31 goals and contributed 34 assists in 71 games in all competitions, and won the Ligue 1 title last season. BBC Sport’s Simon Stone believes that Messi’s decision to travel to Saudi Arabia effectively calls time on his PSG career. PSG are now on a different course and do not view their actions as extraordinary, but rather as a statement about the future direction of the club and their zero-tolerance approach to discipline. It is certain that Messi’s contract will not be renewed.