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Lionel Messi to leave French club Paris Saint-Germain after two difficult years

Former Barcelona star Messi struggled to adapt to the French League.
Former Barcelona star Messi struggled to adapt to the French League. Copyright Andreas Schaad/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Andreas Schaad/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Mark Armstrong with AP
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Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season after two rocky years at the club.

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PSG coach Christophe Galtier confirmed on Thursday that Saturday 3 June will be Lionel Messi's last game at the Parc des Princes in Paris when the team take on Clermont-Ferrand.

The Argentinian international's contract expires at the end of June.

“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of soccer," Galtier said. "This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes."

PSG recruited Messi in August 2021 with the ambition to finally win the Champions League. 

That didn't happen although the team did win its 11th French League title this year.  

The former Barcelona star and seven-time Ballon d'Or winner struggled to adapt at his new club and scored only six league goals in his first 26 games for PSG, attracting boos and criticism from fans.

However, Messi did improve this season as he developed a successful partnership with Kylian Mbappe. 

“This year, he has been an important part of the team, always available, always committed during training sessions," Galtier said. “I don’t think any of the comments or criticisms are justified.”

Despite Galtier's support, PSG's appreciation of Messi has not always been so positive.

Earlier this season, the club suspended the World Cup winner following a trip to Saudi Arabia without the club’s permission.

Messi has a commercial contract with Saudi Arabia to promote tourism in the Middle Eastern country and has been linked with a lucrative move there at the end of the season.

There has also been talk of a return to Barcelona, where he spent the majority of his career, or to the United States to play in MLS.

Messi arrived at Barcelona at the age of 13 and left having won 35 titles.

He helped the club win the Champions League four times, the Spanish League 10 times, the Copa del Rey seven times and the Spanish Super Cup eight times.

Messi is also the team’s all-time scorer with 672 goals in 778 appearances, and the top scorer in the Spanish league with 474 goals in 520 matches.

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