Lionel Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, has been making headlines once again. This time, it’s not for his spectacular performance on the field but for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, resulting in a two-week suspension by his club, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). However, Messi has now returned to training following an apology to PSG and his teammates, and all eyes are on the future of this football legend.
The Suspension and Apology
Following PSG’s unexpected defeat against Lorient, Messi made a trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to fulfil his contractual obligations as an ambassador for the Saudi Tourism Authority. However, this trip was unauthorised, and he had previously cancelled it due to the busy schedule of the club. Messi had mistakenly assumed that he had a day off and, as a result, missed the team’s training session.
PSG suspended Messi for two weeks, leading to his absence in their next match against Troyes, which PSG won 3-1. Nevertheless, Messi apologised to his teammates and the club in a video released on Friday, explaining his reasons for the trip and accepting responsibility for his mistake. PSG, in turn, lifted Messi’s suspension, allowing him to resume training with the team.
Messi’s Contractual Obligations
As an ambassador for the Saudi Tourism Authority, Messi has certain contractual obligations that he must fulfil. However, this trip was not authorised by the club, and it led to his suspension. This raises the question of how professional football clubs should manage the contractual obligations of their players, particularly when it conflicts with their training and game schedules.
Moreover, Messi’s trip to Saudi Arabia has sparked controversy regarding human rights issues and the country’s reputation. Saudi Arabia has been criticised for its treatment of women, journalists, and human rights defenders, and several organisations have called on Messi and other athletes to boycott the country. In response, Messi released a statement defending his trip and claiming that it was part of his role as an ambassador to promote tourism and culture.
The Future of Lionel Messi
Messi joined PSG from Barcelona in August 2021 after the Catalan club faced significant financial challenges. While PSG has provided a new challenge for the Argentine superstar, rumours suggest that Barcelona is interested in re-signing Messi this summer. However, the financial constraints of La Liga’s financial fair play rules may prevent this from happening. In addition, Messi has received interest from Major League Soccer club Inter Miami and a substantial offer of over £350 million per year from Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal. These offers demonstrate Messi’s immense popularity and marketability as one of the best football players of all time.
The future of Messi remains uncertain, but one thing is clear – he is still at the top of his game. Despite his unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia and subsequent suspension, Messi has returned to training and is ready to continue performing on the field. His fans and supporters eagerly await his next move and will continue to cheer him on, no matter where he goes.