December 3, 2021

‘Fake news!’ – Messi’s father rubbishes PSG transfer rumours

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The Argentine has again been linked with a move to France but the Barcelona star’s father has labelled the speculation “false”

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi’s father and agent Jorge has categorically denied meeting with Paris Saint-Germain officials.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future has been a hot topic of debate since trying to secure a move away from Camp Nou in the close season.

Barca blocked Messi’s exit but he is due to become a free agent at the end of the campaign and has been strongly linked with the likes of Manchester City, Inter and PSG.

Spanish outlet El Chiringuito claimed on Monday that PSG are the frontrunners to sign the 33-year-old after holding talks with Jorge at the Qatari consulate in Barcelona last week.

However, Goal has since learned that Messi has not yet had any negotiations with any other clubs, while Jorge hit out at similar suggestions in November and was quick to dismiss the latest reports in an Instagram post.

“False. Yet another invention,” he posted over a screenshot of the transfer rumour. “I’ve been in Argentina since September. #Fakenews.”

Argentina international Messi scored as Barcelona returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Levante in La Liga on Sunday.

That took Messi to 449 goals in the Spanish top flight and he is one shy of becoming the first player to reach 450 with just one club in the top five European leagues.

The diminutive forward will also equal Pele’s mark of 643 goals in all competitions for one club if he finds the net against Real Sociedad on Wednesday.

Koeman talked up Messi’s achievements and continued impact at Barca in a pre-match press conference, as he told reporters: “They are impressive figures, we will never see a player like that again, who has given so much happiness, that is why he is number one and is so important.”

The Argentine has not been quite as prolific in 2020-21 as in previous seasons though, as he has yet to assist a goal and has scored just five times in 11 La Liga outings this term – three of those from open play – at a rate of a goal every 189 minutes.

That compares to a goal every 115 minutes last term (25 in 33 games), on top of 21 assists – the most of any player in the division, Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal being next highest with 11.

Messi will be looking to improve on those figures when Barca host La Liga leaders Sociedad, having been involved in 14 goals in 10 home league meetings with their midweek opponents, including four goals and two assists in his last five such outings.