Messi apologizes to teammates and PSG for Saudi Arabia trip

Messi apologizes to teammates and PSG for Saudi Arabia trip
# 06 May 2023 06:17 (UTC +04:00)

Lionel Messi has apologized to Paris Sain-Germain and his teammates for taking an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia which led to the Argentine international being suspended by the French capital club, APA reports.

"First of all, I want to apologize to my teammates and the club," the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner said in a video clip posted on his Instagram on Friday.

"I honestly thought we were going to have the day off after the game, as had happened in the previous weeks.

"I had organized the trip to Saudi Arabia, which I had cancelled it previously. This time I couldn't cancel it. I repeat I want to say sorry for what I did, and I'm waiting for what the club decides to do."

Messi, who had played in PSG's 3-1 home defeat to Lorient in Ligue 1 on Sunday, wasn't present at the team's training session the following day as he travelled to Saudi Arabia to attend a commercial activity as a tourism ambassador.

The World Cup winner was reportedly sanctioned by the PSG club for a suspension of two weeks with "no match, no training, and no salary."

PSG coach Christophe Galtier said earlier in the day that he will not "comment on it."

"I was informed earlier this week by the management team from the club of the decision to suspend Leo," the 56-year-old French coach told the press conference before Sunday's Ligue 1 match. "Once I was informed of it, I made the decision not to comment on it."

A two-week suspension means that Messi will miss his team's away match against Troyes and the home clash with Ajaccio. As for the remaining three Ligue 1 matches this season, it was not sure now whether Messi will represent the Qatari-owned club again since the relationship between the two sides was believed to have been broken after the controversial punishment.

"We'll see when Leo comes back. There will be discussions with the entire club and Leo, who is the first concerned," Galtier said.

Arriving in Paris as a free agent in 2021, the 35-year-old scored 31 goals and registered 34 assists in 71 games in all competitions for PSG and won the Ligue 1 title last season.

But PSG's failures in the UEFA Champions League have annoyed supporters, as Messi has been booed several times at the Parc des Princes by home fans over the past two seasons.

His contract with the Ligue 1 giants expires after this season, with an "agreement in principle" to extend his stay for another year. However, neither club nor player now wants to activate the option and a divorce is inevitable.