Former Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi (36) won his eighth Ballon d’Or in Paris on Monday, but he is unlikely to present in front of fans at the Parc des Princes.
Messi beat Manchester City forward Erling Haaland and former PSG teammate Kylian Mbappé to the award. He won the World Cup with Argentina in December, whilst also winning the Ligue 1 title later in the season. Messi played an important role in helping Les Parisiens towards top spot, however, he left in relatively acrimonious circumstances.
The former Barcelona forward was heavily criticised for making an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, which saw him miss training. As a result, he was suspended without pay by the club. Messi, however, didn’t serve the full two-week suspension and returned in a match against AC Ajaccio at the Parc des Princes. His name was jeered at the start of the match.
Messi on his time at PSG – “From a sporting perspective, it wasn’t what I had hoped for.”
Since his departure on a free transfer in the summer, Messi has not spoken glowingly of his former club, notably voicing frustration that his World Cup achievement was not sufficiently celebrated by PSG. As a result, he is “unsure” whether PSG fans would want him to present the trophy at the Parc des Princes. “I am not sure that (for the fans and himself) we would want to present the Ballon d’Or at the Parc,” said Messi in a press conference, transcribed by L’Équipe.
He did nonetheless reveal that he enjoyed living in Paris. “I had to leave Paris for multiple reasons but I enjoyed it a lot. I have good friends here, I was very happy and my children liked the city. They wanted to stay in France. From a sporting perspective, it wasn’t what I had hoped for, but I keep the good parts and there are lots of them,” added the former PSG forward.