regular-article-logo Saturday, 23 September 2023

Lionel Messi apologises to Paris St Germain, teammates for Saudi trip

We’ll see when Leo returns, we’ll see what happens, says Christophe Galtier

Reuters, AP/PTI Paris Published 06.05.23, 07:59 AM
Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi. File picture

Lionel Messi apologised to Paris St Germain and teammates on Friday after being suspended for making a trip to Saudi Arabia earlier this week and missing a training session as a result.

French media reported that Messi was suspended for two weeks after an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia when he was supposed to train with the squad the day after the Ligue 1 leaders' 3-1 defeat at home to Lorient on Sunday.


“Hello, I wanted to make this video about what is happening. First of all, ask for forgiveness from my teammates and the club.

"I sincerely believed that I would have the day off after the game as had been happening in previous weeks. I had this trip organised and I couldn't cancel it, I had already cancelled it before," Messi said in a video on Instagram. "I apologise to teammates and I'm waiting for what the club wants to do with me. Hugs," added the Argentina forward.

PSG boss Christophe Galtier said earlier on Friday that he had nothing to do with the club's decision to suspend Messi, who is set to miss the next two matches at Troyes and home to Ajaccio as they look to keep their Ligue 1 lead intact.

"We'll see when Leo returns, we'll see what happens. Obviously there will be discussions with the entire club, but also with Leo," Galtier had said at a news conference.

PSG are five points clear of Marseille with five matches left in the season.

Messi has received a formal offer to join Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal next season, a source close to Argentina's captain said, with a contract renewal at PSG not on the cards for the World Cup winner.

The oil-rich nation appointed Messi its tourism ambassador last year and he visited Jeddah in May 2022. He returned in January to play a friendly match with PSG against a team of Saudi League stars, when he faced Cristiano Ronaldo.

Al Hilal coach Ramon Diaz, however, refused to be drawn on claims the Saudi club are attempting to sign Messi as they are focused on their clash with Urawa Red Diamonds in the second leg of the Asian Champions League final.

Real seek Copa solace

Seville: It’s time for Real Madrid to switch back into championship mode for the final part of what has been an inconsistent season.

Madrid will play Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday following a stretch of poor showings in La Liga, where the title has long been out of reach.

Carlo Ancelotti’s players have been playing far from their best with their focus clearly on the game in Seville against Osasuna — and on what’s to come just after.

Three days later, Madrid will play the first leg of their highly-anticipated Champions League semi-final rematch against Manchester City.

The second leg in England will be played on May 17.

While Madrid’s top priority is to defend their continental title and lift a record-extending 15th European Cup, a victory over Osasunawould secure their first Cope del Rey in nearly a decade and give them the chance for a pair of titles this campaign.

Madrid have produced convincing wins over Liverpool and Chelsea in the Champions League knockout rounds,but they have lost four of their last eight La Liga games.


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