Lionel Messi makes unapproved trip to Saudi Arabia hours after PSG's loss to Lorient
According to reports, Lionel Messi's trip to Saudi Arabia, which occurred shortly after PSG's unexpected loss to Lorient, was not authorized by coach Christophe Galtier.
Despite playing the full 90 minutes for Paris Saint-Germain in their historic 3-1 home loss on Sunday, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner did not stick around afterwards. Instead, he chose to depart with his family.
According to L'Equipe, PSG coach Galtier and football advisor Luis Campos were against Messi taking a trip to the Middle East. However, the Argentine reportedly bypassed their objections and sought permission from the club's Qatari board.
As an ambassador for Saudi Arabia's 2030 World Cup bid, Messi's trip to the Middle East was considered part of his commitments.
The approval he received from PSG's Qatari board allowed him to complete the journey despite objections from coach Galtier and advisor Campos.
Messi, whose speculated move to the Middle East has fueled rumors of a potential reunion with his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo, shared about his trip on social media while taking a break from France:
“Who thought Saudi has so much green? I love to explore its unexpected wonders whenever I can.”
The Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, responded by saying:
“I am happy to welcome Saudi Tourism Ambassador Lionel Messi and his family on his second vacation in Saudi. We are happy to share our authentic Saudi welcome with you all #WelcomeMessi.”
Messi continues to generate intense speculation regarding his future, as his contract at PSG runs down towards free agency, with the 35-year-old World Cup winner being linked with a return to Barcelona, a switch to MLS or a move to join Al-Nassr superstar Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia.