Lionel Messi has come under fire from PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi for a ‘lack of respect’ for the club.

As summer 2021 rolled along, Camp Nou’s inability to pay Lionel Messi a new deal became painfully clear. Given the choice to join Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the Argentine said an emotional goodbye to the Catalan giants.

But the 36-year-old’s French adventure did not go according to plan; at one point, even his own club’s fans began to boo him. Messi did not like his tenure with the Parisians, even though he won a slew of trophies while playing at the Parc des Princes.

In retrospect, the attacker has spoken up about his time at PSG in a less than complimentary light. He has been clear about the fact that playing in France was never in his long-term career goals.

“As I said at the time, my departure to Paris was not something I wanted. It was not something I wanted to leave Barcelona and, so to speak, it was from one day to the next”, he told ESPN back in August.

“And, well, I also had to get used to a place that was totally different from where I had been living all my life, both in terms of the city and in a sporting sense. It was difficult, but the opposite of what is happening to me now here [in Miami].”

What did Nasser Al-Khelaifi say about Messi?

Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain, has now responded to the player and the tangled history between the two parties. He came clean about his belief that the player had shown disrespect for the club after his departure.

While addressing RMC Sport, Al-Khelaifi asserted: “He’s not a bad guy, but I don’t like it. I’ll say, not just for him but for everyone, we talk when we’re there, not when we’re gone. That’s not our style. … I have great respect for him but if someone wants to speak badly about Paris Saint-Germain afterwards, that’s not good. That’s not respect.”

“I’m going to say one thing about Messi, the best player in the world and the best player in history,” he said. “It was not easy for him to come here… After Barcelona. There [in Barcelona], everything was for Messi: the players, the coaches, and the management. He comes here and it’s not the same thing, we also have other players, we have Kylian and also Neymar.”

How has Messi fared after leaving PSG?

In 75 games for the Red-and-Blues, Lionel Messi scored 32 goals and assisted 35 times. While he did manage to win two Ligue 1 championships, he was unable to bring home the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy.

After an impressive career in Europe during which he won four UEFA Champions League championships, he decided to end it with the French side. Inter Miami signed the veteran on a free transfer during the summer.

The Argentine star has since flourished in Major League Soccer. His decades of experience were instrumental in the Herons’ 2023 Leagues Cup victory, their first-ever trophy.