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Why are PSG fans booing Lionel Messi? Explaining reason supporters are turning on Argentina World Cup hero

Sporting News logo Sporting News 13/05/2023 Feargal Brennan
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PSG have once again missed out on their goal of Champions League glory this season after being dumped out at the Round of 16 stage by Bayern Munich.

Christophe Galtier's side lost home and away against the Bavarian giants, to end their European campaign, and place increased pressure on his own future in Paris, depsite closing in on a Ligue 1 title defence.

The club's ownership are expected to opt for change this summer, in a renewed push for a Champions League title, with star players also potentially on their way out.

Lionel Messi is out of contract in June with the club retaining a possible option to extend it by a further 12 months but his next step remains unclear with some sections of the PSG fanbase frustrated by the veteran forward.

MORE: Is Kylian Mbappe leaving PSG? Transfer news after what France star said following Champions League exit

Why are PSG fans booing Lionel Messi?

There were more boos for Messi from the ultras section of the home support in PSG's 5-0 Ligue 1 home win over Ajaccio on May 13, following the pattern of previous shows of anger.

Messi has only just returned from a club suspension, following a controversial unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, but the PSG support again voiced their annoyance at him.

The contrast in mood is huge, compared his reception in Paris and Buenos Aires after the World Cup, with PSG fans claiming his level of effort has dropped.

The shows of dissent towards Messi are not solely directed at Messi, but also at the wider frustrations over another Champions League exit.

The model of PSG's transfer policy has been to accrue the best talent in world football, in the hope it will translate in major titles, with Messi's arrival another example of the strategy, which certain fans are growing tired of.

There is also speculation over Messi not being as committed to PSG's objectives as he is to Argentina, with murmurs of discontent on his performances, which Galtier has rejected.

"Whistles and boos against Messi and the players? For what reason? There's no reason to boo players, they gave their all," Galtier said. 

"We were eliminated because Bayern Munich arrived much better than us over both legs."

Boos for star players is nothing new at PSG in recent seasons — just ask Neymar — but the growing sense of Messi being prepared to walk away continues to intensify.

Is Lionel Messi playing for PSG in 2023?

Messi was granted an extended break after the World Cup with Galtier happy for him to head to Argentina to join in the celebrations at the start of 2023.

He scored on his return to action, in a 2-0 win over Angers on January 11, before a knee injury disrupted his flow at the start of February.

Overall, Messi has been in superb form for PSG since the start of 2023, but his relationship with the club appears broken, with a contract extension very unlikely.

Lionel Messi contract and transfer latest 

Messi's current deal expires at the end of June, just weeks after they are set to lift the Ligue 1 trophy, but his future will not be unresolved by the end of the campaign.

A return to Barcelona looks very difficult, due to their ongoing financial issues, and Messi's next move will be motivated solely by what is best for him and his young family.

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