Lionel Messi reacts after PSG suspension for Saudi Arabia trip

Lionel Messi has apologised to his Paris Saint-Germain teammates after being suspended by the club for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

The Argentina forward was banned for two weeks after leaving for the Middle East after the French club were beaten by Lorient on Sunday.

The 35-year-old will not play for or train with the club during his suspension, and has also been fined.

Messi, who is an ambassador for tourism in Saudi Arabia, has now revealed that he “couldn’t cancel” a trip that had been arranged before a change in PSG’s training schedule.

“I thought we were going to have a day off after the game as always,” Messi explained in a video posted on social media.

“I had this trip organized and I couldn’t cancel it. I had already canceled it before.

“I apologize to my teammates and I’m waiting for what the club wants to do with me.”

Messi is expected to leave the French capital this summer at the expiry of his contract with the Qatari-owned club, and has been linked with a return to Barcelona.

The forward left his boyhood club two summers ago after they encountered financial difficulties.

While Messi enjoyed significant international success in leading Argentina to World Cup triumph in December, his two seasons in France have been hampered by injury.

PSG remain top of Ligue 1 but have lost three of their last six games, and suffered an early exit from the Champions League.

Christophe Galtier, the club’s manager, has said that he had “nothing to do with” Messi’s suspension, but admitted it had complicated an already difficult period.

“Leo’s suspension has added to poor performances, we can’t hide behind that,” Galtier said.

“The decision was nothing to do with me. I was informed of the decision. I can’t say it has been a pleasant period.”

PSG have tightened security at the homes of players after a group of supporters gathered outside Neymar’s house on Wednesday.

“Regarding the protests in front of a player’s home, we have to be careful with that. Private life must remain private,” said Galtier.

“I can understand the anger, the disappointment of our fans. You may protest at the training ground or at the PSG office or after a match at the Parc des Princes but I cannot accept it at anyone’s house.

“There is a lot of these things happening at the moment, and they can be uncontrollable and dangerous.”