With the title now seemingly back in contention after Sunday’s defeat to Lorient, Paris Saint-Germain could well have done without another off-pitch scandal. Lionel Messi’s unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia on Monday, as part of his role as the Gulf state’s tourism ambassador, has left the club in a difficult positionl.
Several people within the club – notably the players themselves – suspect that the Argentine was shown preferential treatment in not coming to training. The players had originally been given the day off, but after the loss to the Bretons this was cancelled. Messi had neither Luís Campos nor Christophe Galtier’s permission to skip the session.
Although RMC have reported that the issue is being seen as a simple misunderstanding and that the World Cup winner will not be fined, L’Équipe now indicate that club president Nasser Al Khelaifi has taken charge of the case. Al Khelaifi was unhappy to see the forward skip training, and given the former Barcelona man’s stature and ongoing contract talks, the issue is now being dealt with in Doha. No definite decision has been taken as of yet, but the club is considering a sanction – whether this would be in the form of a fine remains to be seen.