Messi back in training with PSG despite suspension

Lionel Messi gestures as he warms up before the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lorient, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, April 30, 2023. (Aurelien Morissard/AP)

PARIS (AP) — Lionel Messi returned to training Monday with his Paris Saint-Germain teammates less than a week after being suspended by the Ligue 1 club.

PSG announced Messi’s return on its website, posting a picture of the former Barcelona player running with a ball at the club’s training ground.

The club did not say whether the World Cup winner would be available for PSG’s next league game against Ajaccio on Saturday. With four games left to play, PSG tops the standings with a six-point lead over Lens.

Messi missed practice last Monday while he was on a promotional trip to Saudi Arabia, and the French club announced his suspension a day later. PSG has not specified the length of the suspension, though French media reported it to be two weeks.

Messi later apologized to the club and his teammates for traveling without PSG’s permission.

He is not expected to extend his contract with PSG beyond this season. Reports have linked him to Inter Miami in Major League Soccer, a return to Barcelona, and a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia.

Messi joined PSG in 2021 after winning every major title with Barcelona. The Catalan club that Messi called home from the age of 13 couldn’t afford to keep him because of large debts and the Spanish league’s financial regulations.

PSG fans hoped Messi’s arrival would result in an elusive Champions League title. Instead, the Qatari-backed club was eliminated in the round of 16 in consecutive seasons.

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