5 destinations for Lionel Messi as Paris Saint-Germain star closes in on summer exit
Lionel Messi is facing a big decision in the coming months, with his current contract with Paris Saint-Germain set to expire at the end of June.
Messi joined PSG on a two-year deal in August 2021 after his emotional departure from Barcelona came about due to financial reasons. The 35-year-old has formed a star-studded front line in France’s capital, playing alongside general talents Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, but it all might come to an end when the season finishes.
There has been lots of speculation about Messi’s future since he played a starring role in Argentina’s World Cup win in December. Reports at the time stated he was considering the offer of a contract extension with PSG, but L’Equipe now says he is leaning towards leaving Paris.
His stunning free-kick in the 95th minute to earn a 4-3 win over Lille on the weekend showed just how important he is for Christophe Galtier’s side. But could they be about to lose him? Here Mirror Football takes a look at five possible destinations if Messi does decide to call it a day in France.
The MLS franchise, who are part-owned by David Beckham and coached by Phil Neville, have made no secret of their desire to sign Messi.
The Times have reported they are ‘confident’ of signing Messi and would give him a deal which would make him the highest-paid player in MLS history.
Messi is known to be a fan of Miami as a place. He has holidayed there with his family on several occasions and the lifestyle clearly holds an allure. But is he willing to turn his back on the higher level of European football to move to the US?
Messi made it absolutely clear that he did not want to leave Barca in August 2021. “We were convinced we were continuing here, at home,” he said as he unsuccessfully tried not to cry. “I did all that I could to stay, because I wanted to stay.”
Barcelona is Messi’s home – and, despite all the financial troubles with the Catalan giants, there will always be a desire to bring the Argentine star back.
The club would likely have to make sacrifices in other areas to bring Messi back, but it is possible he would be willing to take a significant pay cut to finish his career with the club where he scored 672 goals in 778 and lifted 35 trophies.
PSG weren’t the only club linked with Messi in the summer of 2021. Pep Guardiola’s presence at Manchester City – and the club’s deep pockets – meant they were also earmarked as a potential destination.
Guardiola has not been shy to shower praise on Messi, who worked wonders under his management at Barcelona.
However, signing a soon-to-be 36-year-old would represent a departure from City’s strategy in the transfer market, no matter how good Messi is.
Cristiano Ronaldo ’s mega-money move to Al-Nassr showed that Saudi Arabia is willing to break the bank to lure superstar players to its league. Ever since Ronaldo made the move to Riyadh there have been rumours that Messi could follow suit.
Saudi Arabia is bidding to host the 2030 World Cup – and getting Messi on board as an ambassador is something the country would love to do.
Mundo Deportivo reported recently that Al-Nassr’s rivals Al-Hillal would be willing to pay Messi a staggering £245m-a-year – a figure which would dwarf Ronaldo’s £177m per year pay cheque. That’s a tempting offer.
Newell’s Old Boys
“The desire is always playing for Newell’s – it is what I dreamed of as a kid,” Messi told TyC Sports five years ago. “When I went to the club I imagined playing in the Primera Division, but I do not know what’s going to happen in a few years. I cannot say I’m going back because I do not know where I’m going to be.”
It is a romantic notion, returning to where it all began as a child before he moved to Barcelona, and it is one that could appeal to Messi now. After winning the World Cup – the last trophy he desired – Messi could up sticks and return to Argentina for a swansong before retirement.
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