Lionel Messi on Friday apologised to his Paris Saint-Germain bosses, teammates and fans for skipping training on Monday to pursue a promotional trip to Saudi Arabia.
The 35-year-old Argentine was suspended for two weeks and his wages were docked for the unauthorised visit following a lacklustre performance in PSG’s 3-1 defeat at home to Lorient last Sunday.
He was expected to go through his paces with his teammates but did not appear at the Camp des Loges training ground.
Instead, the World Cup-winning skipper was nearly 5,000 kilometres away with his wife and three children.
The Saudi tourism minister, Ahmed Al Khateeb tweeted his delight about seeing the Family Messi roving around the kingdom.
On Friday on his social media account, Messi said:
“I sincerely thought it was a day off after the match like it was last week.”
“I apologize to my teammates and I’m waiting for what the club wants to do with me.”
PSG boss Christophe Galtier refused to be drawn on the Messi incident during a press conference ahead of PSG’s clash at relegation-threatened Troyes on Sunday.
“We’ll see when Leo returns what will happen,”
“Obviously, there will be discussions with the entire club but also with Leo.”Galtier added.
Galtier said he was not consulted about the decision to suspend the striker.
“I did not have to make the decision,”
“I was informed of the decision.”Galtier added.
Messi’s mea culpa caps a turbulent week for the Ligue 1 pacesetters.
On Wednesday, fans from the hardcore supporters group the Collectif Ultras Paris demonstrated outside the PSG headquarters in western Paris.
Dozens of supporters also congregated outside the home of the injured Brazilian striker Neymar in the plush suburb of Bougival to shout obscenities and demand his departure.
Following last Sunday’s loss at the Parc des Princes, Galtier’s team could go into Sunday night’s fixture at Troyes with only a two-point lead should second-placed Marseille win at third-placed Lens on Saturday night.
Victory for Lens would take them to within three points of PSG who are seeking an eighth Ligue 1 title in the last 10 years and a record 11th top flight crown.