Lionel Messi: one year at PSG
It’s already been a year since Messi’s emotional exit from Barcelona. Here’s a look at what he’s accomplished in Paris in these last 12 months.
When Messi left Barcelona, it was a shock to the world. After arriving to Spain from Argentina as a young teenager, he grew up there, spending the next two decades playing for Barcelona and evolving into one of the greatest soccer players in the world.
With Barcelona, Messi won four Champions Leagues and 11 LaLiga titles. Despite his impact on the club, Messi was forced to make the move to PSG when Barcelona went into billions of dollars of debt. He went off to France, and here we are a year later. His contract with PSG is set to expire at the end of June 2023, but it’s possible it could be extended for another season.
Messi’s impact at PSG
After 20 years with the same team, it should be expected that there is an adjustment period, even for the best of players. New city, new team, new language, but same expectations. It took Messi a while to adapt to everything, especially with his family struggling to adapt as well.
In the preseason, Messi missed practices because he was playing for Argentina when they beat Brazil in the final. Because of the slow start, he was already behind when he arrived in France. It didn’t help that he caught covid-19 in the middle of the winter. Another issue was that Messi and coach Mauricio Pochettino did not seem to get along, failing to see eye-to-eye on how things should be done. It was a combination of things that led to a messy start for Messi. He is still Lionel Messi, of course. There were some highlights to his season.
Overall though, it looks very much like a transition year should look. He ended the campaign with 11 goals and 15 assists in 34 appearances across all competitions. In the Champions League tournament, Messi finally started to shine, scoring goals in all three home games. Despite that though, it ended in disappointment when PSG lost to Real Madrid in the round of 16 and the fans booed him on the field. Focusing on the positive, though, PSG did win the Ligue 1 title, with the help of Messi.
Coming into his second season with PSG, Messi should have a better year. He’s settled in and in better shape than he was last year. On Sunday, Messi scored his first goal of the season in the Trophee des Champions, defeating Nantes 4-0. According to ESPN, the new coach Christophe Galtier and Messi are getting along much better, and that he fits into his 3-4-2-1 scheme.
Now Messi’s mind is set on performing well in the 2022 World Cup with Argentina and getting PSG to their first Champions League title.