The wonderful holiday mood in the pictures with the family in Saudi Arabia should have passed in one fell swoop for Lionel Messi after his return to Paris.
The already rather cool relationship with Paris Saint-Germain threatens to end in Zoff after an allegedly unannounced short trip to the controversial kingdom after two years. In any case, Messi has never experienced a suspension like this. "Sanction and the conspiracy of an announced end," wrote the sports newspaper "Olé" from the world champion country Argentina.
The internal lock bursts into a delicate phase. On the one hand, negotiations are ongoing with PSG, on the other hand, there is said to be an insane offer for the world footballer from Al-Hilal from Saudi Arabia. Above all, FC Barcelona is hoping to lure the lost superstar back to his heart club after the tearful farewell almost two years ago. "With this new conflict just around the corner, the Catalans are rubbing their hands as the Argentine tries to come back," wrote La Nacion.
Whistles against Messi
For many, Messi's disciplinary sanction may seem like the culmination of an incredibly expensive misunderstanding. In terms of sport, PSG did not achieve the long-awaited triumph in the Champions League even with Messi. The now 35-year-old came under more and more criticism, and there were even whistles from PSG Ultras against Messi before, during and after games.
On Wednesday, however, fans even moved in front of PSG's office, according to French reports. Videos circulated in which insults directed at Messi could clearly be heard. The fans not only demanded the end of Messi at PSG, his Brazilian strike partner Neymar and club boss Nasser Al-Khelaifi are also heavily criticized. A poster read: "PSG, where are you, where are you going, do you hear me?"
Reports also came from Argentina that Messi would no longer play at PSG after June 30, the end of his current contract, as broadcaster TyCSports explained. "Paris will not keep Messi," said L'Équipe.
"No one is above PSG"
The French sports daily featured Qatari PSG boss A-Khelaifi and Messi on the front page, with PSG fans in the background. "The crack," headlined the newspaper. "No going back," it said on page two, the suspension for the trip is undoubtedly the end of Messi's time at Paris Saint-Germain. "Le Parisien" listed others who have already been sanctioned in PSG history. There shouldn't be any exceptions.
"No one is above PSG," the Spanish sports newspaper "Mundo deportivo" quoted an unnamed source close to the PSG president as saying. "There are limits that must not be crossed." That also applies to Messi, who was only crowned world champion in December. According to media reports, the trip to Saudi Arabia was not agreed.
Not a few people are suspicious that he, as a tourism ambassador, is increasing his already lavish salary with money from Saudi Arabia. The country has been criticized for human rights violations, but is trying to improve its image through football, among other things. The Saudi Arabian Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb diligently posted pictures of the superstar's trip: The Messis were always in a good mood with a smile, sometimes in the playground, sometimes with deer or horses.
Where is Messi going?
After Cristiano Ronaldo, the Saudis want Messi to play in Saudi Arabia. Al-Hilal is said to have made the Argentinian an unbelievable offer of 350 million US dollars (equivalent to around 318 million euros) in annual salary.
His PSG wages during the two-week suspension will not be paid. Messi is also not allowed to take part in training. PSG have five Ligue 1 games to go this season. The capital club is five points ahead of Olympique Marseille. On Sunday, coach Christophe Galtier's Paris team lost 3-1 at home to FC Lorient - with Messi.
According to "Mundo deportivo", the Argentine had twice canceled the trip as a tourism ambassador. Galtier is said to have started training at the beginning of the week after the recent bankruptcy, contrary to the original plan. But Messi was already gone by then, for two days. And soon, possibly forever.