Although Lionel Messi appeared at the presentation of the Paris Saint Germain shirt for next season, the departure of the Argentine this June is already confirmed. Photo: Reuters.
In an inconsequential match for the already champion of Ligue 1, which was crowned last weekend with a goal from Leo Messi against Strasbourg, the Rosario star will have this Saturday against Clermont his last game with the PSG shirt at the Parc des Princes, coach Christophe Galtier told the press confirming what was expected weeks ago: the end of the Parisian season of the Flea.
"I have had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football. This Saturday will be his last game at the Parc des Princes, and I hope he receives the warmest of welcomes. This year he has been an important piece of the team, he has always been available.
"I don't think any of the comments or criticisms are justified, when you have a season with the World Cup in between and you end up with statistics of 21 goals and 20 assists ... He's always been there for the team. It has been a great privilege to accompany him throughout the season," said Galtier.
Shortly after, the Parisian club made up the coach's statements, telling AFP that "the match against Clermont will be Messi's last at the Parc des Princes with PSG this season."
However, from all media fronts with access to sources from Messi's environment and the football world, Messi's end at PSG has already been sung for a long time and now only the outcome of this new soap opera that surrounds the Argentine is missing, the club where he will land next season: Barcelona, Inter Miami, Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia ...
Messi arrived at PSG in the summer of 2021 with the club's stated goal of winning its first Champions League. After a complicated first season, in which he did not finish adapting, his numbers in his second year were remarkable, but the European Cup did not arrive.
With 21 goals and 20 assists in 41 games this season, in which he continued to set historical records, won the World Cup in Qatar with Argentina and, among others, the Golden Ball of the World Cup and the Laureus Award, Messi says goodbye to PSG with three titles (two Ligue 1, the last harvested last Saturday in Strasbourg, and a Super Cup in August 2022 against Nantes) and without having come to fruition an increasingly visibly deteriorated relationship: with the club and with part of the fans.
The speculations, which often include quotes to reliable sources and even tones of "bombshell" and "latest news", have gone from the stratospheric figures of 1.200 billion euros for two seasons at Al Hilal, with the approval of Jorge Messi, father and representative of the seven-time Ballon d'Or, to an Inter Miami-Barcelona agreement by which the Florida club would participate in tandem with Barça to sign Leo, that would be ceded to Catalonia for a period of six to 18 months.
Inter denied on Wednesday the version released by the newspaper L'Equipe and clarified that, if they manage to sign the Qatar 2022 world champion, they would have him as the team's banner and would do so with a proposal already formalized, of four seasons at a rate of 50 million euros per year and, according to other versions, up to 5% ownership of the club.
The goal of the MLS team would also be to reunite him with Sergio Busquets, who has just left Barcelona.
Meanwhile, the Catalan club, which has also presented Messi's return as a priority, remains in a kind of limbo and unable to present a formal proposal while LaLiga does not definitively pronounce itself on the Barcelona viability plan, one of the keys for the Rosario to wear the Barça shirt again.
According to press reports, the last thing that is known is that the president of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, reiterated his speech on the parameters that FC Barcelona must meet to sign Leo Messi, the main one being the sale of players so that the viability plan can be fulfilled, considerably lower the wage bill and get rid of some players.
"Barcelona knows the efforts it must make and the rules to follow with the viability plan," Tebas said, alluding to a planning that obliges the club that "his situation must be monitored for more than two seasons. This is where we are. They will soon have a response to the feasibility plan."
"I don't know if Messi or who it will be. To get a player others must leave and thus save what they must save (...) They work and we supervise. This is our role," he said.
Barcelona, Inter Miami or Al-Hilal are still the destinations mentioned weeks ago in this new soap opera. The only certainty, confirmed with statements and facts, is the end of Messi at PSG. We will have to wait until the end of June, as the Argentine environment has reiterated, to know his final decision.
(With information from agencies)