Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, head coach Christophe Galtier has confirmed.
Messi, who moved to the French side in 2021 after leaving Barcelona, has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia while talk of a return to the Nou Camp has picked up in Spain in recent weeks.
Galtier has now clarified the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future lies away from the Parc des Princes ahead of PSG’s last outing of the campaign against Clermont Foot on Saturday.
“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football,” Galtier said on Thursday. “This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes.”
Messi has 21 goals and 20 assists for PSG in all competitions this season, but his relationship with the team’s fans has soured with the Argentina captain subjected to whistles as the French side fell short in their pursuit of Champions League glory once again.
There was an option to extend his initial two-year deal – worth £25m per year after tax, plus bonuses – by a further 12 months, but that will not now happen.
“This year, he has been an important part of the team, always available. I don’t think any of the comments or criticisms are justified,” Galtier said.
“He’s always been there for the team. It’s been a great privilege to accompany him throughout the season.”