Lionel Messi set for return as PSG farewell looms | Football News

PARIS: Lionel Messi is set to return for Paris Saint-Germain for Saturday’s Ligue 1 game at home to Ajaccio after a club-imposed suspension for taking an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner missed last weekend’s victory in Troyes after missing a training session to fulfill his commitments as a Saudi tourism ambassador.
The Argentine then apologized to the club and his teammates and returned to training with PSG Monday, but his time at the Parc des Princes is coming to a sad end.
After two years without interest in France, Messi looks set to play in Saudi Arabia next season in a blockbuster deal that would see him follow rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the Gulf kingdom.
Messi, who turns 36 next month, will sign a “huge” contract with an as-yet-unknown club, a source familiar with the negotiations told AFP this week.
“Messi is a done deal. He will play in Saudi Arabia next season,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
“The contract is exceptional. It’s huge. We’re just finalizing a few small details,” added the source, who is not authorized to speak to the media.
PSG are yet to confirm the departure, while Messi’s father and agent Jorge insists the World Cup winner hasn’t decided where he will play next season.
But it seems certain his spell at PSG will end in June, after the club hope to celebrate a record 11th French league title.
“If the club had wanted to renew his contract, it would have been done earlier,” said a PSG source.
Lens can close the gap at the top to three points if they beat Reims on Friday, but the title is still up for grabs for PSG with their four games remaining against bottom-half sides.
Ajaccio’s next opponents are set for an immediate return to Ligue 2 after winning just once in 13 matches, with three of the four relegation places almost decided.
Auxerre, 16th, is fighting not to suffer the same fate as Ajaccio and face Brest, the team directly preceding them in the standings.
Strasbourg tried to continue their late-season resurgence against Nice as a visit from relegated Angers offers third-placed Marseille the perfect opportunity to bounce back from the loss to Lens.
The 20-year-old striker became the first player to score four times for Montpellier in a Ligue 1 game in last weekend’s extraordinary 5-4 defeat at Lyon.
The France Under-21 international scored 17 goals for the campaign, coming within four of Olivier Giroud’s club record set in Montpellier’s victorious 2011-12 season.
The road to the top hasn’t been smooth for Wahi, who was kicked out of the Caen academy before almost joining Rennes, but bigger things await a player who is increasingly in demand.
46 – points collected by Lens at Stade Bollaert-Delelis this season. They have the league’s best home record by far, winning 15 of 17 games.
17 – matches without a win for Troyes. After starting the new year with a victory at Strasbourg, Troyes have taken just four points since and could be relegated this weekend.
10 Рclubs to have changed coaches this season in Ligue 1 after the dismissal of Antoine Kombouar̩ by Nantes. The first match for his replacement, Pierre Aristouy, is against Toulouse, who beat the Canaries 5-1 in the Coupe de France final.

(AI Image)
Fixtures
Friday: Lens vs Reims,
Saturday: Strasbourg vs Nice, Paris Saint-Germain vs Ajaccio
Sunday: Clermont vs Lyon, Brest vs Auxerre, Montpellier vs Lorient, Rennes vs Troyes, Toulouse vs Nantes, Monaco vs Lille, Marseille vs Angers

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