Lionel Messi will play his final game for Paris St-Germain against Clermont on Saturday, manager Christophe Galtier confirmed on Thursday, sparking speculation over the soccer star’s next club.
“Clermont Foot will be Messi’s final game at PSG,” said Galtier. “I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football. It will be Leo’s last match at the Parc des Princes.”
Messi is expected to decide in the coming hours where he will be playing his football next season – the only thing that seems certain is that it will not be in Barcelona.
Messi would have liked nothing more than to return to the place that was his home since he left Argentina as a 12-year-old in pursuit of his footballing dream.
But his camp has told Barcelona the decision on his future is imminent and they cannot wait any longer for a proposal from them that has not arrived.
Despite promises the Catalan club would have something in place by now, Barcelona cannot offer any guarantees to Messi, as a potential arrival would depend on the club making money in transfers that would require weeks to sort out – if they do eventually get sorted out.
Lionel Messi could move to Saudi Arabia or the US
The 35-year-old World Cup winner wants to stay in Europe but, after it was decided he would leave Paris St-Germain, the forthcoming offers from the continent have not been attractive enough.
In Saudi Arabia there are government officials already working on his arrival. They have been told Messi has accepted a very lucrative offer from Al-Hilal and are preparing for the move. This could simply be his camp preparing for his decision – or it is the most attractive proposition for the player.
American side Inter Miami are another option, although a reported loan deal between them and Barcelona – where he would end up temporarily at the Catalan club – is not on the cards.
The proposal put forward by Inter Miami, while not as financially lucrative as the offer from Saudi Arabia, includes close collaboration from brands like Adidas and Apple that would help bump up the deal.
However, the initial reaction from the Messi camp was that that offer was too complex and they were unconvinced, BBC reports.
Odds for the superstar’s next move
According to the Daily Mail’s latest odds from Paddy Power, Manchester City, Chelsea and even Newcastle are in with a chance of signing the Argentinian superstar.
Paddy Power says a move to any Saudi Pro League side is the most likely scenario for Messi, with odds of 7/10.
Next in the pecking order are Barcelona at 5/4, while Inter Miami are at 5/1. Manchester City, meanwhile, are at 14/1, with Chelsea at 33/1.
A sentimental return to Newell’s Old Boys, where Messi played during his youth career, is also on the cards at 33/1. As is an almost unthinkable move to Newcastle – who will be playing in the Champions League next season – who are down at 66/1.