PSG Directors Provides Update on Rumoured Interest in Lionel Messi

Tom Gott
Lionel Messi has been tipped to join PSG
Lionel Messi has been tipped to join PSG / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has cooled talk of a potential move for Barcelona forward Lionel Messi next summer.

Messi, who asked to leave Barcelona earlier this year, will be out of contract in 2021, and former team-mate Neymar recently fuelled speculation of a move to Paris by admitting that he 'has to' play alongside Messi again next year.

Neymar has fuelled talk of a reunion with Messi
Neymar has fuelled talk of a reunion with Messi / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Talks between PSG and Messi are said to have started back in the summer of 2020 once the Argentine's desire to leave Camp Nou first emerged, with Leonardo reported to have kept an open line of communication with Messi about a possible move to Paris.

Whether that is actually going on behind the scenes is unknown, but Leonardo has publicly played down talk of such a move by insisting that he wouldn't disrespect Barcelona by talking about Messi while he is still contracted to the Spanish side.

"You know, it's normal for Neymar to say that to an Argentinian journalist. He had to talk about Messi, it's normal," Leonardo told Canal+. "We have to maintain respect for others. He's a Barcelona player. When somebody talks about our players, we are not happy.

Leonardo has distanced himself from the rumours
Leonardo has distanced himself from the rumours / FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

"So we don't touch other people's players. Now is not the time to think about the transfer window.
We are very happy with the squad we have. We are thinking of our season and the end of the first part of the season, which was very complicated.

"We have to stay focused on our goals such as qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League. And also we gave to think about Ligue 1 and avoid finding ourselves in a complicated situation. Let's keep our focus."

Leonardo's comments echo those recently made by president Nasser Al Khelaifi, who called for more respect to be shown to Barcelona.

It is currently unknown whether Messi will choose to stay in Barcelona or not. Unpopular former president Josep Maria Bartomeu is gone and will be officially replaced towards the end of January, and the new chief's first job will be to sit down with Messi to talk about the future.

Messi is waiting for talks with the new president
Messi is waiting for talks with the new president / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

The 33-year-old has admitted that he has long hoped to retire at Barcelona, but the club's recent downturn in form has left him considering his options.

Manchester City have often been named as potential leaders in the race for Messi's signature if he does choose to walk away from Barcelona, but Neymar's comments have sparked a frenzy about a possible move to Paris instead.

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