In Reims, Lionel Messi takes his first steps in Ligue 1 in jubilation

Sunday, August 29, it is 10:10 p.m. at the Auguste-Delaune stadium. We are at 63e minute of the Reims-PSG match and time has just stood still in the Champagne evening. Kylian Mbappé scored twice and established Parisian success (0-2). A second goal went almost unnoticed. The eyes of the privileged 20,500 present in the enclosure are turned at that time to the sidelines. Lionel Messi has just taken off his chasuble to make his entrance. The third achievement of the Bondynois this season delayed the enthronement of the Argentine striker in the playing area by a few seconds.

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Three minutes later, “the Pulga” finally takes the place of Neymar and takes his first steps on a Ligue 1 lawn, to the applause of a stadium won for the cause of the 34-year-old player. The beginning of a twenty-five minute first act broadcast in mondovision. An uncontrolled handover to Marco Verratti as a first touch was enough to capsize Delaune. There followed some tasty exchanges with Mbappé which left one dreaming for the future, if the latter chooses to resume for at least a year, the uncertainty remaining a few hours from the end of the transfer window, Tuesday August 31 at midnight. Each action even becomes a pretext to pass the ball to him, even if it means playing against nature, as if his teammates wanted to make sure that they were playing well with one of the greatest players in history.

“We are talking about Reims all over the world”

A first which brought back to the Marne supporters from all over the world, as attested by Alexandre Jeannin. “We had purchases of tickets from Argentina, the United States or even Egypt and India”, details the club ticket manager. The Stade de Reims had probably not experienced such an exhibition since the 1950s, during which the club played two Champions League finals, in 1956 and 1959.

“We have been talking about Reims all over the world for ten days. We could have filled the stadium’s capacity four or five times. This is unheard of. We hosted one of David Beckham’s first games [passé par Paris en 2013], but here it goes beyond anything that has already been done ”, testifies the general manager of the club, Mathieu Lacour.

If the subscribers saw the prices remained the same, the most expensive places sold for up to 200 euros on the official website of the club, against 120 usually for large posters. “What’s crazy is that the peak was even before his arrival was official. The traffic on our site has been multiplied by six “, explains Alexandre Jeannin. A breath of fresh air for the institution, which recorded 30 million euros in losses last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the TV rights crisis.

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