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Lionel Messi leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer – Christophe Galtier

Lionel Messi leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer – Christophe Galtier

Christophe Galtier has confirmed that this weekend’s Paris Saint-Germain game will be Lionel Messi’s last for the club.

The Ligue 1 champions, who secured an 11th league title last weekend, conclude their 2022-23 campaign against Clermont Foot on Saturday night.

The former Barcelona forward and PSG had the option of extending his two-year deal by a further year but the clause could only be activated if both parties were happy to continue their relationship.

Instead, Messi’s time in the French capital has come to an end with a number of options now available for his next destination.

Messi has been the subject of criticism from the PSG fanbase but his coach hopes his spell with the club will be remembered fondly.

“I’ve had the privilege of managing the best player of all time,” Galtier said. “It’ll be his last match at the Parc des Princes, I hope he’ll be welcomed in the best possible way.

“He was an important part of the team this season, and was always available. I don’t find the remarks and criticism to be justified.”

Messi has been continuously linked with a return to Barcelona as well as a move to MLS with Inter Miami.

A move to Saudi Arabia has also been rumoured due to his strong ties to the country. Last month, Messi was suspended for two weeks by PSG for taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

Messi has a multi-million-pound deal with Saudi — who want to host the 2030 World Cup — to promote tourism in the country but PSG have been left angered by the player prioritising that work over his commitments to them.

Messi has scored 17 goals in 33 games in all competitions this season.

Back to Barcelona?

Analysis by Pol Ballus

While Messi’s signing seems like an impossible jigsaw at the Camp Nou right now considering their financial situation, none of that will dissuade many at Barcelona from believing a deal can happen.

The coaching staff, led by manager Xavi, are pushing to have a ‘last dance’ from Messi at the club. Xavi said yesterday: “With the relationship I have with him, I stay very clear: he has the door is open here. If he wants to come, I have no doubt as a manager, none. I think he would give us a lot.”

Move to Saudi Arabia?

Analysis by Pol Ballus

Messi could command as much as €400m (about $443m) per year to play out his career in Saudi Arabia.

The are a lack of projects to choose from in Europe, but the sponsorship deal Saudi Arabia signed with Messi to promote international tourism does not automatically mean he will want to play his club football there and he is not the only player the league is targeting.

Join Inter Miami?

Analysis by Tom Bogert

Inter Miami has long been courting him and if Messi were to choose Miami, it could be the single biggest signing in the history of MLS. He has a home in Miami and regularly spends time off in South Florida. Miami also have the roster space (or “designated player spot”, in MLS parlance) ready for Messi.
MLS commissioner Don Garber told The Athletic in March it will likely take a creative deal to make it happen but that the league and Inter Miami are willing to be flexible.

(Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

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