“Break” with the fans
Messi reveals his big problems at PSG
06/25/2023, 12:02 p.m
Lionel Messi is in demand these days, as a guest star at a farewell game and as an interview partner. After all, the world champion has many things to tell. For example, about his time at Paris St. Germain, which was anything but a success story.
Even on his 36th birthday, Lionel Messi was in demand as a footballer. In Maxi Rodriguez’s farewell game with Argentina against Newell’s Old Boys in his hometown of Rosario on Saturday, the world champion captain scored three times and was once again the star of the evening. The 42,000 fans celebrated “La Pulga” with an impressive light and laser show and a birthday song. “Thank you for the congratulations,” Messi told his 475 million followers via Instagram.
In the land of opportunity, he wants to make two less successful years in club football with Paris St. Germain forget. In 75 competitive games, Messi scored 32 goals and was twice French champion. But he always seemed apathetic and only occasionally showed his brilliant moments. But that is now in the past: As is well known, the exceptional talent has opened a new chapter in his career from the new season and will play for Inter Miami in the North American professional league Major League Soccer (MLS) – incidentally with his long-time Barça buddy Sergio Busquets, who also signed up with the Florida club.
Meanwhile, in an interview with beIN Sports, Messi gave an insight into his feelings during the two-year streak at PSG. Argentina’s superstar rated the elimination in the Champions League in 2022 against Real Madrid and 2023 against Bayern Munich as “a very big disappointment”. At the same time, Messi felt rejection from parts of the PSG fan base, especially towards the end, who whistled and booed him. “It was great at first, I got a lot of encouragement,” said the exceptional player, who in tears announced his departure from FC Barcelona and his move to the Seine in 2021: “But recently, part of the Parisian public treated me differently. There was one Fracture.”
Adjustment “was more difficult than expected”
The decision for Paris St. Germain was made “because I liked the club. I had a lot of friends there in the dressing room. It seemed like the right decision to go there, even though I had other offers,” said Messi. But the adjustment “was more difficult than expected”, especially due to “a different way of playing, new teammates, a new environment”. The move from Barcelona to Paris was not easy for his family either, although PSG was peppered with exceptional talents such as Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma. Added to this was his COVID-19 illness in the winter of his first season at PSG: “It took a long time for me to get back into physical shape.”
His second season went much better for him at the beginning, although he showed his best form in November and December 2022 at the World Cup in Qatar. At the same time, “the World Cup also influenced the results in the championship and in the Champions League,” Messi emphasized. Conclusion of his Paris interlude: “I’m lucky to have won everything and that will remain at the end of my career.”
However, his time in Paris also ended with an incident that was as bizarre as it was self-responsible: Messi was suspended by PSG after a short trip with his family as a tourism ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He was not allowed to train with the team and his wages were withheld – the trip had not been announced. Coach Galtier was not involved in the decision. Messi then apologized publicly in a short video, and the club lifted the suspension after about five days.