PSG suspend Messi for 2 weeks without pay

Paris, May 2 (EFE).- Paris Saint-Germain suspended striker Lionel Messi for two weeks without pay as punishment for his taking an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia, French media reported Tuesday.

Sporting daily L’Equipe said that PSG coach Christophe Galtier told players ahead of last Sunday’s Ligue 1 game against Lorient that they would get the next two days off if they won, while a loss would mean a training session on Monday.

When Messi, who was set to travel to the Middle East to fulfill a sponsorship commitment, requested permission to travel, management said that he could go as long as PSG secured at least a draw.

But Messi decided to make the trip after the defeat – PSG’s third in their last four matches – and the club imposed a severe sanction, according to media accounts.

The 35-year-old Argentine great will miss PSG’s matches against Troyes and Ajaccio and see his pay docked by an estimated 1.7 million euros ($1.87 million).

PSG has been on a downward slide since World Cup 2022 in Qatar, where Messi led Argentina to victory and currently leads Ligue 1 by just 5 points over Olympique Marseille.

The Parisian side was eliminated from the Champions League in the round of 16 and failed to reach the quarterfinals of the Coupe de France.

Messi, a seven-time Ballon d’Or who came to PSG after 17 glittering seasons with FC Barcelona, is widely expected to part ways with the French club at the end of the season.

Though he has often been overshadowed by Kylian Mbappe and has sometimes heard boos at Parc des Princes, Messi has scored 15 goals in 29 matches for PSG this season and contributed an equal number of assists. EFE atc/dr

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