Paris Saint-Germain punished Lionel Messi earlier this week for taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia last weekend without the club’s consent.
Only a day after PSG suffered a dismal 3-1 home league loss to Lorient, the Argentina captain flew over to the Middle East for commercial reasons after becoming a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia.
After not showing up for training on Monday, Les Parisiens have suspended the ex-Barcelona superstar for the two upcoming matches and decided to chop his fortnight’s pay.
As the third-highest-paid player in Ligue 1, the 35-year-old earns €3,375,000 million per month, meaning he will miss out on roughly €1.7m in wages as a consequence.
Messi’s father-agent Jorge reportedly informed the joint-record French champions a month ago that his son won’t extend his expiring contract, leading to wild speculation over the forward’s future.
However, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who found himself second in Forbes’ latest list of the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes, won’t be particularly fazed by the punishment.
That’s because his agreement with Saudi Arabia for his role as a tourism ambassador earns him approximately €30m a year, according to AS correspondent in Paris Andres Onrubia.
With only Al-Nassr megastar Cristiano Ronaldo finishing above Messi in Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes in 2023, the Argentine could add to his staggering income when he leaves PSG as a free agent in the summer.
He reportedly has a mind-blowing €400m-a-year offer from Saudi powerhouse Al-Hilal to move to the Saudi Pro League on the table, with Al-Nassr ready to rival them with a €600m-a-year bid.
Although these figures sound too good to be true, Messi could still turn them down to follow his heart and return to Barcelona at the end of the season, provided the Catalans solve their financial troubles first.
It’s understood that the runaway La Liga leaders can ‘only’ offer their ex-talisman up to €25m per season, so from the financial aspect, there’s no point comparing these two possibilities.
But it’s not always about the money. Or is it?
- Leicester City release seven players following drop into Championship
- AC Milan reject €60 million from Chelsea for Mike Maignan
- Nacho close to Madrid contract renewal in blow to Inter Milan
- Chelsea sign teenage star Kendry Paez
- Leicester want at least £40m for Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle target James Maddison