Lionel Messi apology on Instagram, what he said, and why he took Saudi Arabia trip that led to PSG suspension
Lionel Messi has as squeaky clean an image as you can have in global football and he made sure to keep it that way with an Instagram apology for his actions that led to his unprecedented suspension by Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi was suspended by PSG for two weeks without pay after taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia for what reports indicated was a commercial obligation he had with Saudi Arabia's tourism authority.
The Argentine great was already under pressure for his subpar displays since his return from the World Cup, and he was booed by PSG fans at recent matches.
Following the club's suspension, video went viral on social media of PSG supporters protesting outside club headquarters with chants critical of leadership and Messi himself.
MORE: Why Lionel Messi was suspended by PSG
What did Lionel Messi say in Instagram apology?
Dressed in a dark jacket and button-down, Messi took to his Instagram Stories to publish his apology in a 38-second video that will disappear from his feed.
"Hello. Well, I wanted to make this video given all that's happening. First of all, saying sorry to my teammates and to the club.
"I sincerely thought we'd have an off-day after the match as was the case in the previous weeks. I had this trip to Saudi Arabia, which I had previously cancelled. And on this one [occasion], I couldn't.
"I want to repeat and say sorry for what I did. I'm here and will wait on what the club decides."
May 5, 2023
MORE: Why Messi's plan to transfer PSG failed
Did Messi know PSG were training?
ESPN football reporter Julien Laurens contends that Messi always knew that the club would be training on Monday, May 1 in case of a loss the day before.
Maybe he wasn't counting on PSG losing at home to mid-table Lorient. That upset actually happened at the Parc des Princes on Sunday, April 30, an embarrassing 3-1 setback that saw their lead atop the Ligue 1 table shrink to five points with five matches remaining.
Messi didn’t learn that training was on while on the plane on Monday morning. PSG decided to sanction him because he should have been at training. Similar to United and CR7 after his interview. Messi accepted it. If he had done nothing wrong, he would have reacted already. 2/2— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) May 4, 2023
As part of his trip to Saudi Arabia, Messi was seen enjoying the scenery with his family in photos and videos distributed on social media, and he shared an Instagram post with the message:
"Who thought Saudi has so much green? I love to explore its unexpected wonders whenever I can. #visitsaudi"
Leo Messi during his trip in Saudi Arabia 🎥pic.twitter.com/PKU3waK4bJ— Messi Magic (@MessiMagicHQ) May 4, 2023
What matches will Messi miss due to suspension?
PSG have just five matches left in their season, all coming in Ligue 1 play as they look to retain their French league title.
With a two-week suspension that was announced on Tuesday, May 2, that would rule Messi out of the May 7 match at Troyes and the May 13 home match against Ajaccio, two teams facing the threat of relegation.
PSG next matches
- Sun, May 7: at Troyes
- Sat, May 13: vs. Ajaccio
- Sun, May 21: at Auxerre
- Sat, May 27: at Strasbourg
- Sat, June 3: vs. Clermont Foot
Clermont Foot, currently in 8th place, is the team with the best standings position that PSG is set to face to end the 2022/23 season.
FARRELL: Why Messi should consider retiring after PSG
PSG supporters protest Messi
In the wake of the controversy surrounding Messi's trip to Saudi Arabia, PSG supporters targeted Messi, Neymar, and club leadership for criticism by gathering and chanting outside club headquarters.
The criticism directed at Messi was a surprise given how well-liked Messi is among players and football fans around the world, especially after playing a key role in captaining Argentina to a World Cup title in December.
The Collectif Ultras Paris are outside the PSG HQs chanting “Messi, son of a b*tch.”— Nico Cantor (@Nicocantor1) May 3, 2023
The largest supporters group have surrounded “La Factory” PSG’s head administrative offices. They want “answers to their requests and demands.” They say “Paris is us.”
MORE: Why it's now or never for Messi to MLS
Is Lionel Messi leaving PSG?
Multiple reports have made it clear that Messi will be departing PSG when his contract expires in June 2023.
Although there's a contract option for another year, it's not expected to be triggered, making Messi a free agent at the conclusion of the 2022/23 season.
🚨 Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season. There are no doubts about that anymore.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 3, 2023
Behind the scenes, it’s now understood that Leo’s father Jorge communicated the decision to PSG already one month ago due to the project.
It was the final breaking point. pic.twitter.com/Bwehuvyq1E
The soon-to-be 36-year-old Messi has been linked to three potential destinations after his spell at PSG is up: Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia, Inter Miami in Major League Soccer, and a return to Barcelona in Spain.
There's no clear favourite to land Messi at this early stage, and all three will be making their case for the biggest star in the sport to wear their colours.