A person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Lionel Messi was suspended by Paris Saint-Germain from traveling to Saudi Arabia without the club’s permission.
The person did not specify the duration of the suspension, although French media reported that it was two weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.
The two-week ban means Messi will miss PSG’s next two matches. Both the team and CMR Sport reported the suspension without citing sources.
The person told the AP that the World Cup champion will not be allowed to train or play for the team and will not be paid during the suspension.
The source says PSG turned down Messi’s request to make the trip.
Messi, 35, has a commercial contract with Saudi Arabia to promote tourism in the Middle Eastern country.
The suspension comes at a sensitive time as the French club had hoped to extend the Argentine star’s contract beyond this season.
Messi’s trip comes on the heels of PSG’s 3-1 loss to Lorient on Sunday, which put the defending champions five points ahead of Marseille with five games left in the season. Messi played the whole match.
And L’Equipe newspaper reported that Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier pledged to give his players two days off – Monday and Tuesday – if they beat Lorient. Instead, the team trained on Monday and took off on Tuesday.
The forward joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona two years ago with the hope of leading the team to the elusive Champions League title. Instead, the Qatar-backed club has been knocked out in the Round of 16 in successive seasons.
There has been speculation about where he will play next, especially after reports that contract talks with Paris Saint-Germain had collapsed. Some PSG fans have even booed Messi amid the team’s inconsistent campaign.
Messi led Argentina to the World Cup title in December. He scored 15 goals in the league and leads the French League with 15 assists.
Messi has not publicly commented on the comment on his social media accounts.