PSG’s decision to suspend Lionel Messi for his trip to Saudi Arabia has everyone talking in Argentina. The feeling shared in Buenos Aires by many sports commentators is that something has happened that has not yet been made public.
“What happened from that unofficial announcement by the two parties just after the World Cup in Qatar, that there was an agreement in principle, to this Tuesday, May 2?” asked Argentine outlet Olé after Messi was suspended for two weeks.
“What happened is that in December 2022 everything was on track, but there was no economic agreement or plan in place for Messi at PSG.
“Messi wanted a better squad to win the Champions League. There was a meeting between Luís Campos, PSG’s sporting advisor, and Jorge Messi, Leo’s father, but nothing was agreed.”
And then PSG were knocked out of the Champions League and results in Ligue 1 didn’t help matters either.
The lack of empathy between Messi and PSG supporters caught the attention of the Argentine press. Not even his goals and assists for Kylian Mbappé managed to repair a relationship that appears to be broken.
“Something isn’t right in Paris,” wrote La Nación, who compared the severity with which the Messi case was handled and the club’s attitude towards Neymar.
“PSG did not show the flexibility towards Messi that it did on more than one occasion towards Neymar, who had whirlwind trips to Brazil for carnivals and family birthdays. This reaction from the club should only be interpreted in footballing terms, with anger at the team’s poor showing in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Lorient.”
Messi’s departure, it added, “would not be considered a great loss for the fans, who have decided to ignore him, or for the club’s directors, who would save on his salary”.
According to RMC Sport in France, Luís Campos personally called the 35-year-old on Monday night to inform him of his suspension, and that disciplinary proceedings had been opened against him. The decision had been taken even before Messi had returned from his commitments as the Gulf state’s tourism ambassador.
Kieran Quaile | GSFN