PARIS: Argentina football great Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain after Saturday’s final Ligue 1 match of the season against Clermont Foot, coach Christoph Galtier confirmed on Thursday, reported German news agency dpa.
It has long been speculated that Messi would quit PSG when his two-year deal expired after being suspended by the recently crowned French champions in early May for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.
“It’s his last game at the Parc des Princes,“ Galtier told reporters. “I have had the privilege of coaching the best player in football history.”
The coach said he hoped Messi would be given a good send-off. PSG ultras have booed the forward on occasions this season.
The 35-year-old has been heavily linked in the media with Saudi club Al-Hilal. His great rival Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Saudi side Al-Nassr in January.
His former club Barcelona, where Messi had spent his entire career before financial problems meant he joined PSG, has also shown interest in his return.
But pundits say this is just a smokescreen to appease fans and the same financial constraints will prevent the Spanish champions from re-signing him.
MLS side Inter Miami - partly owned by David Beckham - has also been mentioned in the media as a possible destination, but Saudi Arabia looks like the most likely option for Messi, who has made no recent comment bout his future.
He long ago said he would like to retire at Newell’s Old Boys in his Argentinian birthplace of Rosario, but there has been little movement on this front.
Messi, who finally achieved his dream of winning the World Cup last year, wants to continue playing until at least Copa America in June and July 2024 in the United States.-Bernama