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Lionel Messi played his final match for Paris Saint-Germain – a 3-2 home defeat by Clermont Foot – after two years in Ligue 1, the club confirmed on Saturday.
“After two seasons in the French capital, Leo Messi’s adventure with Paris Saint-Germain will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2022-23 campaign,” PSG said in a statement.
Messi’s future at the club had been the subject of much speculation recently, with a source close to the Argentina captain saying he had received a formal offer to join Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal next season. Messi has also been linked with a return to Barcelona, and with a move to MLS side Inter Miami.
“I would like to thank Leo Messi for his two seasons in Paris,” said PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi. “To see a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner in the Rouge & Bleu and at Parc des Princes, winning back-to-back Ligue 1 titles and inspiring our younger players has been a pleasure. His contribution to Paris Saint-Germain and Ligue 1 cannot be understated and we wish Leo and his family all the best for the future.”
While the 35-year-old won the World Cup with Argentina last December, his time at PSG has been mixed. Although PSG won their 11th Ligue 1 title, in March they were once again knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16. In recent weeks, Messi has received abuse from some sections of PSG fans, and last month the club suspended him after an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.
It was an emotional night in Paris where players from both sides paid tribute to PSG goalkeeper Sergio Rico, who remains in intensive care after a horse-riding accident in Spain last weekend.
Sergio Ramos opened the score in what was also his final game for PSG when he headed in a deep cross from Vitinha, before Kylian Mbappé made it 2-0 from the penalty spot for his 29th goal of the season that helped him secure the Golden Boot.
Clermont struck back through Johan Gastien, but Grejohn Kyei then put a penalty wide.
Clermont did have their equaliser on the stroke of half-time when the ball rebounded kindly to Mehdi Zeffane and he tapped home, before Kyei finally got his goal with a close-range finish just past the hour-mark.
Speaking on Thursday, the PSG manager, Christophe Galtier, defended Messi, saying: “I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football. This year, he has been an important part of the team, always available. I don’t think any of the comments or criticisms are justified. He’s always been there for the team. It’s been a great privilege to accompany him throughout the season.”
Auxerre’s short Ligue 1 stay ended after a 3-1 defeat to Lens confirmed their relegation on the final day of the season, while Rennes sealed a Europa League place with a 2-1 win at Brest.
Eden Hazard will leave Real Madrid after his contract was terminated a year early by mutual consent, the Spanish club have announced.
“Real Madrid would like to express our affection to Eden Hazard and we wish him and his family the best of luck for the next stage of his career,” the statement said. Hazard, who is now 32, joined from Chelsea in 2019 for a reported initial €100m fee, but his time at the Bérnabeu has been a major disappointment.
Despite failing to match expectations, the Belgian winger leaves Madrid having won the Champions League, Club World Cup, European Super Cup, Copa del Rey, two Spanish titles and two Super Cups.
Champions League finalists Internazionale wrapped up their Serie A season on Saturday with a 1-0 win at Torino thanks to a first-half goal by Marcelo Brozovic that guaranteed them a top-three finish.
Brozovic scored eight minutes before the interval. He unleashed a shot from outside the box, taking advantage of the ample space provided by the Torino defence.
Torino had a golden chance to equalise in the second half through Yann Karamoh but the 38-year-old Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic made a diving save, managing to get a hand on the ball.
Alessio Romagnoli and Luis Alberto emerged as the saviours for Lazio when they scored in a 2-0 win at Empoli, giving the visitors a second-place finish.
Romagnoli scored three minutes into the second half from a corner, igniting frenzied celebrations among the visiting players and supporters.
Empoli’s Nicolo Cambiaghi received his second booking immediately before stoppage time, reducing his team to 10 players. Capitalising on the advantage, Alberto sealed the victory for the visitors three minutes later.
RB Leipzig defended their German Cup trophy with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Saturday, with Christopher Nkunku scoring one second-half goal before setting up Dominik Szoboszlai for the other.
After an entertaining but even first half, in which Leipzig’s Timo Werner spurned an early opportunity, Frankfurt looked to be on top but were stunned when Nkunku’s strike took a huge deflection off Evan Ndicka in the 71st minute.
The momentum was firmly with Leipzig and Nkunku slipped in a low ball for the unmarked Szoboszlai, who found the far corner with a poised finish with five minutes remaining.
Lionel Messi Bows Out As Paris Saint-Germain Slump
The Guardian published this article: