Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season, with the Argentine set to play his final game against Clermont Foot on Saturday.
PSG manager Christophe Galtier confirmed in a press conference on Friday afternoon that the World Cup winner will depart, with Inter Miami one of many potential destinations.
‘Clermont Foot will be Messi’s final game at PSG,’ said Galtier. ‘I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football. It will be Leo’s last match at the Parc des Princes.’
Messi joined PSG after a financial tug of war with Barcelona in 2021 and has won a pair of Ligue 1 titles, though the Parisians have not got any closer to winning the Champions League crown they so desire.
The 35-year-old hinted that leaving Barcelona allowed him to mature as a player and some suggest that leaving his comfort zone allowed him to develop the leadership qualities he displayed in winning the Qatar World Cup in December.
PSG have confirmed that Lionel Messi will depart the club at the end of the 2022-23 season
Manager Christophe Galtier revealed that Messi will play his last PSG game on Saturday night
French media reported this morning that Messi could make a sensational return to the Camp Nou but that Barcelona would struggle to financially wager a move.
One alternative suggested by L’Equipe, though, is that Messi could join Inter Miami and be loaned to the Catalan club.
Inter Miami, managed by Phil Neville, are said to be offering Messi a lucrative package, while there is still interest from Asian clubs.
‘I hope that he will be welcomed in the best way,’ added Galtier ahead of Messi’s final game. PSG have already won the Ligue 1 title.
There have also been suggestions that the World Cup winner could be on the verge of signing a lucrative deal with Saudi side Al-Hilal.
Rumours last month claimed that Messi had been offered a contract worth £522million from Al-Hilal, despite the concerns of his wife Antonela Roccuzzo.
Messi‘s father, Jorge, quickly shut down reports that a decision had been made about his son’s club for next season.
Taking to social media, Messi’s father said: ‘There is absolutely nothing with any club for next year. The decision will never be made before Lionel finished the league with PSG.
‘Once the season is over it will be time to analyse and see what is there, and then make a decision.
The Argentinian has recently been linked with moves to Spain, America and Saudi Arabia
Inter Miami and their manager Phil Neville have been clear that they want Messi to join MLS
‘There are always rumors and many use the name of Lionel to gain notoriety but the truth is only one and we can assure that there is nothing with anyone.
‘Neither verbal, nor signed, nor agreed, and there will not be until the end of the season.’
Despite his impressive campaign in France – where he scored 16 goals and recorded 16 assists in the league – there are clearly issues with Messi and the PSG hierarchy.
Last month, the World Cup winner was the centre of controversy as he missed a training session and, instead, travelled to Saudi Arabia to promote the country’s tourism industry.
Messi, who was given a two-week suspension, apologised and posted a message on social media saying he was on his way to Riyadh when players were told their day off had been cancelled.
‘I thought we were going to have a day off after the game as always,’ Messi began in the 39-second clip shared onto his Instagram story.
‘I had this trip organised and I couldn’t cancel it. I had already cancelled it before. I apologise to my team-mates and I’m waiting for what the club wants to do with me.’
Lionel Messi released a video apologising for his unauthroised trip to Saudi Arabia in May
The forward flew to the Middle East with his family when he was supposed to be in PSG training
Just a few days after the incident, PSG fans gathered outside the club headquarters to chant for the PSG board to resign, while they also called for Messi to leave the club, with the Argentinian also receiving jeers from supporters at recent matches.
It was thought that the fans had arrived at the headquarters to protest Messi’s suspension, but, according to The Sun, one chant heard was: ‘Messi, son of a b****.’
More to follow…