PSG claim Lionel Messi situation “not logical” as contract ‘clause’ fuels conflict
Lionel Messi appears to have defied Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo by invoking a contract clause which allows him to represent Argentina this month
Paris Saint-Germain chief Leonardo has voiced his displeasure as a unique clause reportedly included in Lionel Messi’s contract appears to be causing friction.
The sporting director was hugely reluctant to let Messi return to his homeland for the November international break – despite the 34-year-old reportedly being permitted to prioritise Argentina games as part of his deal in the French capital.
It was claimed when Messi joined PSG that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner wants to put the national team first ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar without fear of animosity between club and country.
Messi serves as Argentina captain, winning the Copa America this summer, and hopes to lead them against Uruguay and Brazil in qualifiers over the night fortnight.
But the forward has missed PSG’s last two games with a knee injury and Leonardo is not happy about the situation of losing him and Leandro Paredes to international duty.
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“We do not agree to let a player go by selection who, for us, is not in physical condition or who is in the rehabilitation phase,” the Parc des Princes supremo told Le Parisien .
“It is not logical, and these types of situations deserve a real agreement with FIFA.”
Despite Leonardo’s comments, Messi is believed to have made the 13-hour trip to Argentina on Sunday evening.
To make matters worse for PSG, he was joined by compatriot Paredes even though the midfielder has been missing since mid-October with a thigh injury.
Messi and Paredes will be assessed by Argentina medics and they will ramp up their rehabilitation in a bid to be fit for the trip to Uruguay on Friday.
Although Leonardo is clearly opposed to the former representing his country, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino was more sympathetic to his fellow Argentine’s cause.
Ruling Messi out of the Ligue 1 clash with Bordeaux – which PSG won 3-2 – Pochettino said on Friday: “Tomorrow he won’t be available to play for the team. We will see if he can travel to play for his country.
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“We hope he can go and play for his country and then return to us fit.”
Messi is yet to score his first domestic goal for PSG, with injuries limiting him to just five top-flight appearances since he joined on a free transfer from Barcelona.
He also missed the Ligue 1 clash with Angers in October due to representing Argentina against Peru.