Lionel Messi has added to the heightened speculation surrounding his future by choosing to attend a Coldplay concert in Barcelona on Sunday over a Ligue 1 awards ceremony in Paris.
The Argentine superstar went to the concert with wife Antonela Roccuzzo and former Barcelona teammate Cesc Fabregas.
Messi helped Paris Saint-Germain win the Ligue 1 title by scoring in their 1-1 draw with Strasbourg on Saturday. The Argentine scored his 496th goal, smashing Cristiano Ronaldo’s record (495) for most goals scored in Europe’s top five leagues. Footage from inside the dressing room at Strasbourg showed the PSG players celebrating with champagne — but Messi did not join the party.
A day later, the 35-year-old was seen in the crowd for Coldplay’s gig at Barcelona’s Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, seemingly trying to keep a low profile. That, however, proved impossible as Barca fans began chanting his name in unison after identifying him sitting in the lower stands. The stadium, Espanyol’s home until 2009, could be used by Barca once Camp Nou renovation work begins.
According to Paris-based RMC Sport, Messi went to the concert instead of joining several of his PSG teammates at the annual UNFP ceremony, which honours the best players in Ligue 1, Ligue 2 and the D1 Arkema (women’s first division).
Messi was one of four PSG players to be named in the team of the season for Ligue 1, with Kylian Mbappe, Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes also making the cut. Mbappe was named Ligue 1’s best player.
Messi has enjoyed a turbulent second season at PSG and has been a regular target for criticism from the club’s hard-to-please fans. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is being strongly linked with a return to Barcelona as his contract with PSG winds down to its final weeks, with no extension in sight. He was suspended by PSG in April for taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.
The Argentina captain has also been linked with a switch to MLS and Saudi Arabia, but his future won’t be decided until after PSG’s final game of the season, at home to Clermont on June 3.
Later in June, he will lead Argentina in a couple of international friendlies in Asia. But the suspense over his club future will continue.