Football/Soccer

Lionel Messi back in training with PSG after ban for Saudi Arabia trip

Lionel Messi has returned to training with Paris St Germain (Aurelien Morissard/AP)
PA Sport Staff

Lionel Messi has returned to training with Paris St Germain following his suspension over an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

The Ligue 1 club confirmed on their official Twitter account on Monday morning that the 35-year-old Argentina international was back among the fold after he was fined and suspended for undertaking a promotional visit to the Middle East country without permission.

The post, which was accompanied by a photograph of the World Cup winner in training kit, said simply: “Leo Messi back in training this Monday morning.”

Messi, who is an ambassador for the Saudi Tourism Authority, was pictured in Riyadh the day after his side had suffered a surprise defeat to Lorient.

He later revealed in a video posted on his official Instagram account that he had to make the trip for contractual reasons, having previously cancelled it, and had assumed he had a day off.

Messi said: “I wanted to make this video due to everything that is happening.

“First of all, I want to say sorry to my team-mates and to the club. I honestly thought that we were going to be free after the game, as had been the case in previous weeks.

Lionel Messi joined Paris St Germain from Barcelona in August 2021
Lionel Messi joined Paris St Germain from Barcelona in August 2021 (Nick Potts/PA)

“I had organised this trip to Saudi Arabia, which had been cancelled previously and this time I couldn’t. I apologise again and I’m here for whatever the club decide. All the best.”

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner joined PSG from Barcelona in August 2021 after the Catalan club ran into severe financial difficulties and, although a return has been mooted, those difficulties make that unlikely.

In recent days, he has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia’s Pro League amid reports he could earn up to £320million a year.

Football/Soccer