PSG's Lionel Messi during a French soccer league match, Feb. 26, 2023.
PARIS – Argentinian forward Lionel Messi will play his last match for Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday against Clermont. Germaine. Coach Christophe Galtier told journalists. According to media speculation, the 35-year-old world champion could leave for a lucrative job in Saudi Arabia, a return to Barcelona, where he previously worked for 21 years, is also not ruled out.
“I had the honor of coaching the best footballer of all time. This will be his last game at the Parc des Princes. I hope he gets the warmest possible welcome,” said Galtier, who took charge of PSG before this season.
Messi left from Barcelona in the summer of 2021, after not renewing the planned contract because the Catalan giants could not afford him due to the financial fair play rules of the Spanish league. With the Blaugrana, he won the Spanish league ten times and the Champions League four times, among other things.
The Rosario native then signed a two-year contract with PSG. In both seasons, he won the title with the Parisians and once the French Supercup. In the Champions League, which the club has never won, but the French team has been eliminated in the round of 16 each time. At the end of last year, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner led his country to its first World Cup title in 36 years.
Messi has fared better at PSG this season, scoring 21 goals and 20 assists in 40 competitive games. In his first year, he scored 11 goals and 15 assists in 34 competitive duels.
“He was an important part of the team this season, he was always available. I don't think any comments or criticism towards him is justified. Always here he was for the team. I consider it an honor to have accompanied him this season,” said Galtier.
Messi's future is unclear. On Monday, his former team-mate and current Barcelona coach Xavi said he would speak to the Argentine star about his possible return to the club.
PSG clinched their second consecutive title and 11th overall with a 1-1 draw in Strasbourg on Saturday . However, the final round of 38 against Clermont will not be celebrated. The day after the defense of the championship, the substitute goalkeeper of the Parisians, Sergio Rico, ended up in a serious condition in the hospital after falling from a horse, which also kicked him in the neck.
“We will not celebrate. It was a very difficult week. touched. We try to detach from it in training. We send a lot of positive energy to Sergio, his mother and his wife,” stated Galtier.