Lionel Messi, the man, the myth, the legend, has decided it’s time to bid adieu to Paris St-Germain at the end of his current contract. It’s a “so long, farewell” kind of situation.
This Argentinian World Cup hero had nearly shaken hands on an ‘agreement in principle’ to stick around for an extra year, but it seems the winds of change have blown both club and player off course.
Poor Messi isn’t convinced the Parisian giants have the dosh to stay afloat in the shark-infested waters of European football. Meanwhile, the French champs are itching to groom the next generation of starlets.
He signed a two-year deal back in 2021 with a sneaky option to renew for another year, but alas, that ship has sailed.
The grapevine tells us that Messi’s dear old dad, Jorge, whispered the news into the ear of Paris St-Germain’s football advisor, Luis Campos, just a few weeks ago.
The fear of a limited budget next season, thanks to those pesky Financial Fair Play rules, has the quality of PSG’s squad teetering on the edge of uncertainty.
Messi’s hesitancy to ink a new deal has rubbed the club’s Qatari owners the wrong way, interpreting his silence as a resounding “thanks, but no thanks.”
Adding fuel to the fire, the 35-year-old found himself suspended by PSG for a fortnight after a cheeky trip to Saudi Arabia without the club’s blessing.
Now, there’s talk of a fairy-tale return to Barcelona, but with La Liga leaders in a financial pickle, the prospect of a homecoming seems more like a pipe dream.
Stateside, Inter Miami is wagging its finger, while a jaw-dropping offer of around 400m euros (£354m) from Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia is on the table.
But Messi, ever the optimist, believes he’s still got the chops to tango with Europe’s finest for another season, setting his sights on a fifth Champions League trophy. However, with Barcelona off the cards, his options are growing slimmer by the day.
During his time at PSG, Messi has racked up a cool 31 goals and 34 assists in 71 matches, not to mention nabbing the Ligue 1 title last season.
With a two-match absence on the horizon, PSG is still poised to clinch their ninth league title in 11 seasons, sitting pretty atop the table.
Messi, Barcelona’s all-time top scorer with a staggering 672 goals in 778 games, bade farewell to the Nou Camp in 2021 due to financial woes.
And if that isn’t enough, he’s tipped to win an eighth Ballon d’Or in October, which would put him three ahead of any other player, after hoisting the World Cup trophy with Argentina in December. What a man!