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SPORTS | 02-05-2023 16:15

PSG disciplines Lionel Messi for unauthorised Saudi Arabia trip

Lionel Messi has likely played one of his last games for Paris St Germain after the French side slapped the Argentina captain with a ban following an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

Paris Saint-Germain have opened a disciplinary procedure against star player Lionel Messi, who risks being suspended after travelling to Saudi Arabia without the permission of the French club.

Various media outlets in France have claimed the Argentine will be hit with a two-week suspension. A source questioned by the AFP news agency, however, said the period of suspension would be a few days.

Another source close to the club indicated that the management will "probably" suspend Messi for two weeks, adding that "nobody is above the institution."

"He can't train, he can't play and he won't receive his salary during the time of the disciplinary procedure," the second source continued.

The club has yet to officially comment.

The ban means that Messi – who is widely tipped to depart PSG when his contract expires in June – may have played one of his last matches for the French side.

The World Cup winner, who will turn 36 next month, played in PSG's 3-1 home defeat to Lorient in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

He then travelled to Saudi Arabia with his family on business, but as his club had lost, coach Christophe Gaultier cancelled the usual rest day, meaning Messi fell foul of an unexpected requirement to be on duty in Paris.

Messi is a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia and reportedly asked for permission to travel and carry out commercial work. The request was denied.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner left Barcelona in 2021 to join PSG, but he has struggled to reproduce his best form in Paris, scoring 31 goals in 69 appearances.

Some fans see him as a symbol of all the club have done wrong in focusing on superstar signings while failing to build a genuinely competitive team.

The Argentine's name was jeered by some PSG fans as the teams were announced prior to the 1-0 home defeat against Lyon in Ligue 1.

 

– TIMES/AFP

 

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