Paris Saint-Germain manager Christophe Galtier announced Thursday that Lionel Messi is leaving the club after two years. The confirmation comes after rumors swirled that the superstar is considering a move to Saudi Arabian Pro League’s Al Hilal.
It was reported in May by the Telegraph that the move would pay Messi as much as $400 million (£320 million) annually. Messi’s longtime rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, already made a similar multimillion dollar move out to the Saudi Pro League this past winter. Ronaldo plays for club Al-Nassr—Al Hilal’s city rival—where he reportedly pockets $213 million per season.
“I had the privilege of coaching the best player in the history of football. This will be his last match at the Parc des Princes, and I hope that he will receive the warmest of welcomes,” Galtier said at a news conference ahead of PSG’s final Ligue 1 match of the season against Clermont Foot, per ESPN. “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.”
Messi was suspended for two weeks last month following an unsanctioned weekend trip to Saudi Arabia. He missed training during the trip and as a result was hit with the ban where he wasn’t paid. Messi has tallied 21 goals and 20 assists for PSG in all competitions this season.