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Lionel Messi, PSG marriage seems to be coming to an end

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PSG forward Lionel Messi. | PHOTO: MARCA |
  • Lionel Messi joined PSG at the beginning of last season from his childhood club Barcelona
  • Messi left Barcelona when no one expected but left as a club legend for the Spanish side
  • His time at PSG has not been so memorable and has been losing connection with the fans of late 

Lionel Messi never seemed overjoyed to join PSG, and the sentiment appears to be mutual.

Messi’s tearful farewell press conference in Spain made it abundantly obvious that he would have chosen to stay at Barcelona rather than move to Paris in 2021.

There was a feeling, however, that he could find happiness at his new club, leading them to Champions League glory and becoming a hero among the Parc des Princes faithful in the process.

Almost two years later, however, that ideal appears to be further away than ever, with both success and support in short supply for the Argentine.

There was plenty of talk about Messi being unhappy at the club ahead of the match against Rennes, with reports of him leaving training early after refusing to participate in an exercise and meeting with Barcelona president Joan Laporta to discuss the prospect of a return to Camp Nou.

Clearly, PSG supporters had read such reports, because when his name was read out by the stadium announcer as he went through the starting XI prior to kick-off, he was greeted with some boos.

Following their defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16, they were already dissatisfied with the man they’d thought would establish them as one of the best clubs in the world, and talk of him not being fully invested had only fueled the fire.

Messi losing connection with PSG fans

Lionel Messi

PSG forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring in a past Ligue match. The Argentine might be on his way back to Barcelona. | PHOTO: MARCA |

It was unclear whether the 35-year-old was aware of the boos, but he played like a man who was as his team suffered a deserved 2-0 loss.

He was still the host team’s best forward going forward, which isn’t saying much given how bad his teammates were, but he never seemed to get out of second gear, instead simply going through the motions with a disinterested air.

While he made some excellent passes near the finish, creating a few chances, he frequently lazily passed the ball to someone else after receiving it, as if he couldn’t be bothered to do anything else.

Despite seeing a lot of the ball and often having space ahead of him, he only tried five dribbles in the entire game, which is ten fewer than he did in PSG’s previous home game.

He also took three fewer shots, and when the last of them flew harmlessly over the bar in the final stages, it was clear that his fans were even more dissatisfied with him now than they were at the start of the match, with his effort met by even louder boos than those heard only a few hours earlier.

There was no question Messi had heard these because while the majority of his teammates, including Kylian Mbappe, apologised to the home crowd after the final whistle, he proceeded directly down the tunnel.

Messi return to Barcelona

Messi has never had the same connection with PSG fans as he did with Barcelona fans, but things had never been this bad before, even after the club blew a first-leg lead against Real Madrid last year.

The fallout comes as both he and the club consider whether to extend their relationship, with his present contract expiring at the end of the season.

The Ligue 1 champions have always been expected to retain him if they can, but with the fans turning against him and Mbappe allegedly pushing to be the star man, they may start to reconsider.

But, in the end, it may not matter what the club does because it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that he’ll want to remain beyond the current season.

Given Barcelona’s financial problems, it’s uncertain where he’ll go, but one thing is certain: the French Connection is all but gone.


Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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