Lionel Messi’s decision regarding his future in club football is set to be heavily influenced by Paris Saint Germain’s latest humiliating exit from the Champions League and will push him not to renew his contract before leaving as a free agent, according to reports.
For the fifth time in seven seasons, the big-spending Ligue 1 giants crashed out of European football’s elite competition at the last 16 phase.
After losing 1-0 in Paris last month, they fell 2-0 to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday by putting in a limp display where Messi and Kylian Mbappe were nullified by the well-organized Bavarians.
Under-fire PSG head coach Christophe Galtier claimed that it was “really too early” to talk about his future post-match.
“It obviously depends on the (club’s) management and my president. There’s a disappointment. The club had a lot of hopes for this competition. I stay focused on the end of the season with a lot of energy and determination,” he added.
Yet it is expected that heads will roll at the Parc des Princes, and Messi – according to various sources in an El Nacional report – has become “increasingly clear” that it would be best for him to leave the club he joined in 2021 when his contract expires on June 30.
The Catalan digital newspaper says that Messi will announce his decision soon and wanted to “wait and see what happened in the Champions League” before calling time on his two-season tenure in Ligue 1 or deciding to renew.
With that box now ticked off, and his close friend Neymar also likely to be on his way out, Messi is now likely to head to the MLS or his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys as he “does not see a very pleasant future” for himself in Paris.
A return to FC Barcelona is complicated but not impossible. Reports have claimed that president Joan Laporta made a “final offer” to Messi after meeting with his father and agent Jorge in recent weeks.
This would entail the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner receiving a minimum salary of €200,000 ($211,000) and then the potential €100 million ($105.6 million) proceeds from his farewell match.
Warned to shed €200 million ($211.2 million) from their wage bill by La Liga chief Javier Tebas, this seems the only realistic way that Barca have to sign Messi and allow him to retire from elite European football in Blaugrana.