Messi, Neymar booed by PSG fans in Ligue 1 Bordeaux clash
It was the weekend after that Champions League night before, and the French supporters had clearly not yet got over their Real Madrid hangover.
Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabéu in the Champions League was something to behold. Paris Saint-Germain, following a summer 2021 transfer window focused on raising the club to champions of Europe, arrived to the home of 13-time continental kings, Real Madrid with a statement to be made.
Already a goal to the good from the first leg, the dominance of that Parisien performance suggested Los Blancos would take no further part in the competition this season. We were all wrong.
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The convincing display from Paris continued across the first half in the Spanish capital, topped off with a superb Kylian Mbappé goal. That was surely that.
But cometh the second half, cometh the Karim Benzema, and as the full-time whistle blew, supporters of the French moneybags were preparing to let out some air themselves. And a home fixture against Bordeaux was just days away.
No sooner had the Ligue 1 match begun than Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player ever to grace the Beautiful Game, and his teammate, Neymar, who remains owner of the largest ever transfer fee, were booed and jeered every time they got on the ball.
"A very strange atmosphere in Paris," said AS journalist Andrés Onrubia at the game. "The ultras had announced protests and the PSG bus was greeted with a sepulchral silence that was more reminiscent of a funeral than a football match.
"As the Paris players came out to warm up, the Parc des Princes provided a collective whistle to greet the squad."
The natives were restless. Many didn't turn up, as their own protest. And what this means going forward - with their prized Mbappé expected to transfer to Los Blancos in the summer for free - is anyone's guess right now.