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PSG president: Confident 'happy' Messi will stay

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Published in Soccer
Thursday, 08 December 2022 12:00

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has said he is confident Lionel Messi will stay at the club and expressed his interest in signing Manchester United's Marcus Rashford on a free transfer.

Messi's contract at PSG runs out next June and reports have linked the Argentina captain with a move to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, although sources told ESPN last month that he had not agreed a deal to join them.

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The 35-year-old could trigger a one-year extension at PSG as part of his present deal, and, in an interview with Sky Sports, Al-Khelaifi said the forward was "happy" at the Parc des Princes and "definitely" wanted to stay for longer.

"He's very happy, you can see that with the national team," Al-Khelaifi said.

"If a player's not happy you will see their performance not good for the national team. He performed fantastic this season for us, he's scored a lot of goals and assists for the national team and for the club.

"So what we agreed together -- that after the World Cup, [we] sit down together. But both sides -- our side of the club and him -- are very happy, so we will talk after the World Cup."

Messi enjoyed a fine first half of the season at PSG before the campaign was paused for the World Cup, scoring 12 goals in 19 appearances in all competitions. He played his 1,000th professional game in Argentina's round-of-16 win against Australia and his side face the Netherlands for a place in the semifinals on Friday.

Al-Khelaifi was also asked about the possibility of PSG signing Rashford, who has scored three goals for England at the World Cup after playing his way back into the side. The striker's contract at United expires next summer, meaning he could join PSG on a free transfer.

"He's another player that is really amazing," Al-Khelaifi added "And for free? To have Rashford for free, every club would run after him, definitely.

"We're not hiding it, we spoke before and... [there was] interest. But the moment was not a good moment for both sides. Maybe, summer, why not?

"Today if he's a free agent of course we can talk to him directly but we are not going to talk to him now. Let him focus on the World Cup. Then after in January, hopefully, if we're interested we will talk to him."

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