Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema to leave PSG, Real Madrid at end of season

It has not been a smooth ride for the World Cup winner since he moved to France in 2021.

• June 1, 2023
Messi and Benzema
Messi and Benzema

Football legends, Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema, are expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid when their respective contracts expire at the end of the season in Spain and France.

The news of Messi’s departure was confirmed by PSG manager Christophe Galtier ahead of the Parisians’ last season’s game with Clermont – which will also be “Leo’s last match at Parc des Princes” – on Saturday.

“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 against Clermont,” Mr Galtier said while confirming Messi’s decision.

It has not been a smooth ride for the World Cup winner since he moved to France in 2021. He has been booed and jeered by PSG fans, who accused him of not giving his best for their club and urged him to leave – on multiple occasions.

Saudi Arabia Pro League side Al-Hilal have heavily been linked with a move for the Argentine and had months ago offered Messi a whopping €220 million per year deal to join his longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the Middle East.

Barcelona hierarchy have publicly confirmed they are making plans to bring their former player back to Camp Nou but are still waiting for approval on Financial Fair Play from La Liga, who said the Catalans have a “long way” to go to fulfill the deal’s financial feasibility.

David Beckham-owned MLS outfit Inter Miami are also believed to be interested in securing the services of the 35-year-old.

Meanwhile, Karim Benzema is expected to leave Real Madrid when his contract expires at the end of June, multiple sources including American outlet ESPN have confirmed.

According to ESPN, the 35-year-old has agreed to join Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad on a two-year contract worth around €400 million at the end of the season.

The forward is expected to say goodbye to fans at the Santiago Bernabeu when Real Madrid play Athletic Club in their final game of the season on Sunday – bringing an end to Benzema’s 14 seasons, 24 trophies stint in Madrid.

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