2022 FIFA World Cup-winning captain from Argentina Lionel Messi may have left French Ligue 1’s Paris Saint-Germain for Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami CF, his relationship with his former club has been in poor condition, especially after his recent claims that ruffled president Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s feathers. In an interview, the 36-year-old highlighted that the French football powerhouse did not make an effort to recognise or celebrate his World Cup triumph like many of his Argentine compatriots had in their respective clubs, prompting Nasser Al-Khelaifi to hit back at his former employee last weekend.
Messi of course led his country defeat then defending champions France in the Qatar final, scoring a brace and converted a spot kick in the shootout as a result.
When speaking to ESPN’s Migue Granados, the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain megastar stated that he was the only member in Argentina’s 25-man FIFA World Cup-winning squad that did not get any recognition at his club. Although the 36-year-old La Pulga continued to add that the decision was “Understandable”, as opponents defeated by Argentina in the Qatar finale last year were France last year, his response in the interview is clearly giving an indirect hit at his former employers at the Paris Saint-Germain camp, and it certainly did not sit well with PSG’s 49-year-old chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi: “We Celebrated Messi in Training, and in Private.”
In response to Messi’s recent remarks, Nasser Al-Khelaifi decided to tell reporters about his version of events, in which is contradictory to what the former PSG forward had said in the ESPN interview. The 49-year-old Nasser Al-Khelaifi mentioned: “As everyone saw, because we even published a video, we celebrated Messi in training, and we also celebrated him in private. But with respect, we are a French club. It was of course sensitive to celebrate at the stadium. We must respect the country he defeated, his teammates on the France team, and our supporters too.”
Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s response to Messi’s comments went on to prove both parties’ unamendable relationship ever since the player’s move to PSG from Spanish La Liga side Barcelona back in the 2021/2022 Season, and his exit from the French capital after just two seasons was a writing on the wall.
2022 FIFA World Cup finalists France were defeated by the manager-less Germany in a friendly match last international break, the full match details can be found here, dive into it right away!
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Messi’s Bad Blood with PSG
The Messi interview is not the only time both La Pulga and Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s PSG had clashed against each other. Despite scoring 32 goals and providing 35 assists in his 75 appearances in all competitions, Messi has not been a likeable figure at PSG by fans or other stars in the team like Kylian Mbappé, in which he called the relationship a love-hate one.
Besides, the 36-year-old La Pulga was suspended by Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s PSG earlier this year for his unathorised trip to Saudi Arabia with his family for a promotional commercial. The incident saw Messi miss a training session after a PSG game, which was called a day after the team’s 3-1 defeat to FC Lorient. The 2022 FIFA World Cup-winning skipper was asked to give a public apology via a video but most spectators did not accept his words and demanded him to leave the club at the end of the season, laying the foundation to Messi’s ultimate departure after just two years with the French outfit.
Full version of Leo Messi’s apology:
“Hello, well, I wanted to make this video for what is happening. First of all, obviously ask for forgiveness from my colleagues and the club. I honestly thought we were going to have an off day after the game as it had been happening during… https://t.co/BbK6O4sFrF
— PSG Report (@PSG_Report) May 5, 2023
Messi to Play in 2024 Copa América and Perhaps the 2026 FIFA World Cup
Apart from his time with PSG, Messi also spoke of the chances of him playing in Argentina’s next major tournaments such as the 2024 Copa América and the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the ESPN interview. His statement goes “I haven’t thought about it [retiring], I don’t want to think about it because I want to continue to enjoy what I do. I took an important step by leaving Europe and coming here, and I don’t want to think about the next step. I do think about the Copa América. After the Copa América, we will see, it depends on how I feel. I will see how I feel day by day; there are three years to go.”
Who Do You Side, Messi or Nasser Al-Khelaifi?
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