Lionel Messi, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and a tumultuous relationship

Lionel Messi, PSG
Lionel Messi, PSG / FAYEZ NURELDINE/GettyImages

Things took a turn for the good yesterday when news emerged about Lionel Messi getting a two-week suspension following his trip to Saudi Arabia instead of attending mandatory training on Monday.

French newspaper L'Equipe, adding more information to the saga on Wednesday, is reporting that Messi's entourage is calm and thinks they are right knowing that "the trip had already been postponed twice" in the past and that Monday's trip and date "had been set in agreement with PSG some time ago."

However, they are forgetting to mention the most important thing: PSG lost another league game, against Lorient by a wide 1-3 result, last Sunday just mere hours before Messi's bolted away from Paris.

In the eyes of Messi and his relatives, given the timing, it was "complicated to cancel the meeting in Saudi Arabia again" as the hosts "had organized everything for his arrival" on Monday. 

According to L'Equipe, the board of PSG want to “land a blow" on Messi that has repercussions on all other players of the team and those wanting to join the club in the future, knowing there will be no concessions to anyone going forward.

L'Equipe writes that with this action, "PSG set an example and send the message that even the absolute stars are not above the institution.“ With this, the club want to showcase how Messi did not follow "exemplary behavior" and did not "keep the squad united, especially at a time when his team is going through a complicated period." 

Getting things even further, the newspaper goes the distance to say that "this decision also confirms the end of the story between PSG and Messi," with the world champion about to exit Paris next July.

At the start of 2023, Messi and PSG agreed to a new contract at least on some preliminary ground, although no real agreement was reached nor pen put to paper. Since then, some influential PSG players have "started to question the relevance" of Messi, says L'Equipe.

That, along with the boos and the displeasure shown by most PSG fans at the Parc des Princes and a subpar set of performances after the winter break, will lead PSG to let Messi go for free when his contract runs out at the end of June 2023.

The newspaper also reveals that the club want to turn Messi into an "add-on player" or a "deluxe super-sub," but they know that considering his status and his past (seven-time Ballon d'Or winner) that'd be quite hard, if not impossible.

Those leading PSG from the shadows in Doha are seemingly still considering signing Messi to an extension, reportedly meeting Messi's father Jorge Messi last week in Paris. However, Jorge is not too much into keeping his son in Paris.

The divorce seems to be "consummated" after Monday's developments, says L'Equipe. It is still unknown if PSG will make Messi available to play following his two-week ban or if the player will just refuse to play again for Paris Saint-Germain.

Next. PSG suspend Lionel Messi for two weeks. dark

Messi already visited Saudi Arabia for the first time in May 2022 while under contract, and that reportedly irked the board of PSG considering the tensions between Qatar and the Saudi Kingdom.