Messi models Paris Saint-Germain’s new kit. Is it a sign?

Paris Saint-Germain have unveiled their new home kit for the 2023-24 season, and while the retro-inspired design is certain to delight fans, the choice of the player to model the jersey has already set tongues wagging.

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Lionel Messi appeared wearing the latest PSG jersey despite all of the talk that the Argentina captain is set to leave the Ligue 1 champions this summer.

Messi’s former side Barcelona, Major League Soccer‘s Inter Miami and Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal have all been touted as possible destinations amid growing speculation that his brief sojourn in France could come to an end when his PSG contract expires next month.

In fact, according to L’Equipe, Inter Miami and Barca have joined forces in an unexpected collaboration to thwart Al Hilal’s proposed signing of Messi. The partnership between the two clubs reportedly proposes that the MLS side sign Messi before immediately loaning him to Barcelona, allowing him to play one final season for the his beloved Blaugrana before heading off for an international swansong with Argentina at the 2024 Copa America, which will be hosted in the United States.

The 35-year-old stoked the flames himself recently when he decided to miss Ligue 1’s end-of-season awards gala in favour of attending a Coldplay concert back in Barcelona, the city he has called home for most of his life, with family and friends, including former teammate Cesc Fabregas.

Regardless, Les Parisiens have decided to include Messi in the promotional material for the kit they will be wearing next season — perhaps a subtle indication that his stint at the Parc des Princes is on the verge of being extended into a third year?

Fellow superstar Kylian Mbappe has already set restless minds at ease by confirming his intention to stay put at PSG into the 2023-24 campaign, though Neymar — a close personal friend of Messi — is open to leaving the club this summer should a suitably enticing offer crop up.

As for the 2023-24 home kit itself, the shirt is an homage to the PSG jerseys of the early 2000s, when a new wave of exciting foreign players such as Ronaldinho, Pauleta, Mauricio Pochettino and Gabriel Heinze helped deliver the 2003-04 Coupe de France, the club’s first major honour since the mid-1990s.

The familiar dark blue bed is emblazoned with a wide, offset vertical version of the famous “Hechter” stripe similar to those used to adorn every PSG home shirt between 2001-02 and 2004-05, before the central band was reintroduced.

The tonal graphics woven into the navy background coupled with the fading gradient of the white accents are intended to represent the architecture of the local Paris skyline once shrouded by night.

C’est magnifique!