Football: Messi keen to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, says club president Al-Khelaifi

Argentina captain Lionel Messi will talk to his club PSG about extending his contract after the World Cup. PHOTO: REUTERS

DOHA - Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said Lionel Messi is happy at the Ligue 1 champions and they will open discussions about a possible contract extension after the World Cup.

Messi, who has 12 goals and 14 assists for PSG in all competitions this season, moved to the French side from Barcelona in 2021 on a two-year contract, which expires in the summer.

When asked if the 35-year-old is interested in extending his stay in Paris, Al-Khelaifi told Sky Sports: “Definitely”.

“He performed fantastic this season for us, he’s scored a lot of goals and assists for the national team and for the club,” he added.

“So what we agreed together – that after the World Cup, sit down together. But both sides – our side of the club and him – are very happy, so we will talk after the World Cup.”

Earlier, Messi had been linked with a return to his boyhood club Barcelona, with president Joan Laporta talking up a reunion in July.

The financially strapped Catalan club are coached by his former teammate Xavi Hernandez, who said at a World Cup promotional event in November in Qatar: “If Messi wants to, he can return to Barca at some point, sure. Who wouldn’t like to train him?”

Messi had also been linked with a move to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who are co-owned by David Beckham.

However, Sky Sports reported last week that Messi is expected to stay in Europe until 2024 at least, with PSG said to be his first option.

Another player out of contract this summer is Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, who was previously linked with a move to PSG in the close season.

Al-Khelaifi said “every club” would be interested in signing the England international on a free transfer and that PSG had spoken to him previously.

“But the moment was not a good moment for both sides,” he said.

“Today, if he’s a free agent, of course we can talk to him directly, but we are not going to talk to him now. Let him focus on the World Cup. Then after in January, hopefully, if we’re interested, we will talk to him.” REUTERS

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