Lionel Messi apologises to PSG after unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia

Argentine superstar said he 'couldn't cancel' the holiday and believed he would have the day off after the game

Lionel Messi is expected to leave Paris Sant-Germain at the end of the season when his contract expires. Reuters
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Lionel Messi has issued a public apology to Paris Saint-Germain and his teammates after being handed a two-week suspension for an unauthorised holiday to Saudi Arabia.

Messi, 35, was suspended by PSG after taking a family holiday to Saudi Arabia when he was supposed to train with the squad following the Ligue 1 leaders' 3-1 defeat at home to Lorient on Sunday.

"I sincerely believed that I would have the day off after the game as had been happening in previous weeks. I had this trip organised and I couldn't cancel it, I had already cancelled it before," Messi said in a video on Instagram on Friday.

"I apologise to my teammates and I'm waiting for what the club wants to do with me."

The Argentine superstar, who led his nation to World Cup glory in Qatar, is a tourism ambassador for Visit Saudi and could be making a more permanent move to the Kingdom soon.

Messi's PSG contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and while there had previously been an understanding that both player and club were happy to extend, it now looks likely the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner will leave.

Saudi giants Al Hilal, who are aiming to retain their Asian Champions League title on Saturday, are rumoured to be interested in bringing Messi to the Saudi Pro League, while MLS side Inter Miami, and former club Barcelona have also been linked with a move.

PSG manager Christophe Galtier said earlier on Friday that he had "nothing to do" with the club's decision to suspend Messi, who is set to miss the next two matches at Troyes and home to Ajaccio as they look to keep their Ligue 1 lead intact.

"I was informed by the board at the start of the week of the decision to suspend Messi. When I was informed, I had the responsibility of not commenting on it," Galtier told a press conference.

"I'm employed by the club and that is my role. The decision was nothing to do with me. I was informed of the decision.

"Leo's suspension has added to poor performances, we can't hide behind that. I can't say it has been a pleasant period. There's a target to achieve, players are working hard. We are focused and committed."

PSG are five points clear of Marseille with five matches left in the season.

Updated: May 05, 2023, 4:32 PM