Lionel Messi will play against Clermont on Saturday, according to Paris Saint-Germain manager Christophe Galtier, who also said that it will be his final match for the team. The contract of the 35-year-old Argentina winger expires this summer, and it has been widely speculated that Messi will leave France for his previous club Barcelona in La Liga, Al Hilal of the Saudi Pro League, or Inter Miami of Major League Soccer.
The worst-kept footballing secret in the world was finally revealed on Thursday when Galtier announced that Messi’s two-year stay in the French city would soon be drawing to an end.
“He’s always been there for the team” : PSG head coach Galtier
“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football. This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes. This year, he has been an important part of the team, always available. I don’t think any of the comments or criticisms are justified. He’s always been there for the team. It’s been a great privilege to accompany him throughout the season.”
Messi arrived to the French city from Barcelona in 2021 under a two-year contract, and he has since helped PSG win two consecutive Ligue 1 championships in addition to the French Super Cup. Messi has 21 goals as well as 20 assists with PSG in all tournaments this season. In total, he’s played 74 games and scored 32 goals.
PSG anticipated that Messi would make the difference in the Champions League and help the team win its first European Cup. They could only advance to the round of 16 in each season. Additionally, Messi was due to practise with his club after their 3-1 loss to Lorient at home last month but instead went on an unauthorised visit to Saudi Arabia. As a result, Messi received a suspension for two weeks.
Following concerns from fans, PSG was compelled to tighten security at the residences of Messi, Neymar, Marco Verratti, and Galtier. Messi netted during the draw at Strasbourg which gave the Parisians their newest championship, but some PSG supporters jeered him after he rejoined the club for the 5-0 thumping of Ajaccio. With his 496th goal in the top five leagues in Europe, Messi has now surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo’s previous record of 495.