Messi beats Ronaldo's record, secures Ligue 1 title for PSG

Messi will have one final home game against Clermont Foot before departing from Parc des Princes

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Cristiano Ronaldo (Left) and Lionel Messi (Right) last faced off in the Champions League in 2020. AFP/File
Cristiano Ronaldo (Left) and Lionel Messi (Right) last faced off in the Champions League in 2020. AFP/File

Lionel Messi broke Cristiano Ronaldo's record and helped Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) secure their second consecutive Ligue 1 title with a 1-1 draw against Strasbourg. 

Messi's goal, his 496th in Europe's top five leagues, surpassed Ronaldo's tally and contributed to PSG's championship victory. The 35-year-old Argentine opened the scoring with an assist from teammate Kylian Mbappe, leaving Ronaldo in second place with 495 goals. Although former PSG striker Kevin Gameiro equalized, the draw was enough for PSG to defend their title.

This victory marks Messi's second French title, having previously won it in his debut season with PSG. However, it is expected to be his last, as he is set to leave the club when his contract expires this summer. Messi will have one final home game against Clermont Foot before departing from Parc des Princes.

While there have been speculations about a fairytale return to Barcelona, recent reports suggest that Messi is leaning towards a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia, where Ronaldo has been playing for Al-Nassr. Rival club Al-Hilal is hoping to secure Messi's signature once his contract with PSG ends next month.

Despite this, Barcelona remains hopeful of bringing Messi back to the club. President Joan Laporta has confirmed ongoing discussions and emphasized that Messi sees Barcelona as his home. Laporta believes Barcelona can compete against other options, including those in Saudi Arabia.

Acknowledging the strained relationship between Messi and PSG fans, Laporta expressed his intention not to disturb Messi at this time. He stated that Barcelona is Messi's home and can compete with any other destination, including Saudi Arabia.

Barcelona's head coach, Xavi, also desires Messi's return and maintains regular communication with him. However, he believes it is not the right time to discuss the matter, considering the well-being of Messi, the club, and the squad. Xavi drew a parallel to Michael Jordan's "Last Dance" and understands the excitement among fans for Messi's potential return.