Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has imposed a two-week suspension on Lionel Messi after the football superstar missed a crucial training session on Monday to visit Saudi Arabia.
As a result of the suspension, Messi will neither participate in training sessions nor play any games with the first team, and will not receive any wages during the suspension period.
The unexpected absence was first reported by French newspaper L’Equipe. According to the publication, PSG manager Christophe Galtier had promised his players two days off – Monday and Tuesday – if they managed to secure a win against Lorient on Sunday.
In case of defeat, however, the players would be required to attend training on Monday.
Messi, aged 35, had inquired whether he could travel to the Arab Gulf to fulfill his obligations as a Saudi ambassador under his sponsorship deal, provided PSG won or drew the game.
Galtier and sporting director Luis Campos had granted him permission to do so, but only in case of a win or draw, not a defeat.
However, after PSG’s disappointing 3-1 loss to Lorient – marking their third defeat in the last four league games – Messi left for Saudi Arabia without seeking further permission, as per sources. This meant he could not attend the training session scheduled for Monday.
ESPN sources revealed that Messi’s unapproved absence has led to tensions within the team’s dressing room, with some players expressing their dissatisfaction with the incident.
Further complicating the situation is the ongoing negotiation of Messi’s contract extension with PSG, as his current contract is set to expire at the end of the season. Meanwhile, former club Barcelona is considering the possibility of re-signing Messi.
However, LaLiga president Javier Tebas has warned that the league will not amend its financial fair play rules to facilitate his return. In addition, Messi has attracted interest from Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal and Major League Soccer team Inter Miami.