(Reuters) — Argentinian striker Lionel Messi will play his last match with Paris Saint Germain (PSG) this Saturday against Clermont, his coach Christophe Galtier announced on Thursday.
“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football. This will be his last game at the Parc des Princes, and I hope he receives the best reception,” Galtier told reporters on Thursday.
Messi, who has 21 goals and 20 assists for PSG in all competitions this season, arrived in the French capital from Barcelona in 2021 on a two-year contract.
“This year he has been an important part of the team, always available. I don’t think any comments or criticisms are warranted,” Galtier said.
“He’s always been there for the team. It’s been a great privilege to be with him all season.”
Messi’s future at PSG has been the subject of much speculation recently, with a source close to the Argentina captain telling Reuters he has received an official offer to join Saudi club Al-Hilal next season.
Besides the Saudi team, there are reports linking Messi with a possible move to Inter Miami from David Beckham, who is a well-known admirer of the Argentine.
There is also the possibility of Messi returning to Barcelona or his native Argentina, although these are options with several hurdles, especially the second, as the world champion still has football to be in a league. superior in Europe.
Whatever his next destination, the only sure thing for now is Messi’s impending departure from PSG, whose relationship has gradually become strained and eroded.
What happened at PSG?
Messi arrived in the French capital with a bang. He was to be the missing piece of the puzzle, the man who would lead the team to their first Champions League trophy.
In his first season in Paris, Messi struggled with injuries but still managed to show flashes of his genius.
He helped the team win another Ligue 1 title, but PSG failed in the Champions League, being beaten by eventual champions Real Madrid in the round of 16.
His second season started much better and his collective play with Neymar Jr. and Kylian Mbappé was the envy of teams around the world.
However, after his sensational participation in the World Cup in December 2022 with Argentina, he again struggled at the Parisian club.
In March, PSG were once again knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16, this time at the hands of Bayern Munich.
This led to a bitter end to the season and Messi was one of the star players who received a backlash from fans later that month.
Messi was handed a two-week ban after leaving France to attend a promotional event in Saudi Arabia; the unauthorized trip caused him to miss a practice session.
The big question now is: where will Messi play?
With reporting by CNN’s Ben Church.