Lionel Messi will receive this Thursday in a Monumental filled with a huge ovation and all the affection of the Argentinean fans. It will be his first appearance in the country after winning the World Cup in Qatar 2020 and it will also be an opportunity to score the 800th goal of his career and do it with the Argentina national team shirt. But this Sunday, at the Parc des Princes, he was greeted with boos by the ultras of Paris Saint Germain and with indifference for the majority of spectators. After, there was disappointment and anger and rage for the 2-0 defeat against Rennes, after another poor performance by the team, who went 35 home games without defeat.
PSG continue to play aimlessly while remaining leaders of Ligue1. Knocked out in the French Cup and Champions League, he is now putting his status as comfortable leader of the tournament at risk. The boos from the audience after the final whistle multiplied. The Parisian team have 66 points and lead Lens by 9, who have 57. But now Olympique de Marseille have the chance to be trailed by only 7 points. Rennes, with this victory, rises to fifth place and enters the Europa League zone.
On 14 February, when they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich for the Champions League, PSG lost an unbeaten run at the Parque de los Príncipes, across all competitions, of 36 matches. And he had gone into this Sunday’s match on a 35-match unbeaten run in Ligue 1, with 30 wins and 5 draws, since 3 April 2021. The previous setback had been against Lille, then led by Christopher Galtierthe current DT of the Parisians. The football crisis has also devastated the impressive brand.
A conjunction of stars cannot make a good football team. It was the pending subject of the Argentine Maurice Pochettino last season, who also had in the squad angel of mary. It’s Coach Galtier’s big deal, especially this year. It is that in the last part of 2022, even without playing well, PSG remained unbeaten in 21 games, 15 in the league and 6 in the Champions League. This year he has lost 6 of the 14 games he has played and been excluded from two competitions, in the French Cup by Olympique de Marseille and in the Champions League by Bayern Munich.
The World Cup final featured PSG’s two great figures, Messi and Mbappé. True, both have lowered their performance after the restart. But the French continue to bet theirs, but not so much the Argentine. Against Rennes both showed their qualities, Leo, very active, with some assists that didn’t turn into goals and shots on goal, and Kylian always dangerous with his speed, even if he was unable to finish. They are far from their best level and, also, from scoring. The rest of the team does not accompany.
Even if they didn’t play well, in the first 45 minutes the protagonist was PSG, who spent the most and generated the best scoring situations. But with a couple of interventions, the goalkeeper Steve Mandanda he has become a figure. The visit was clear it could hurt a weak line of four locals, with several absences, against. And he solved it at the end of the first stage, with a goal of Karlo Toto Ekambi at 45 minutes, and at the beginning of the second half, with the goal of Arnaud Calimuendo at 3 minutes.
PSG’s reaction was tepid and erratic, with some individual attempts but few collective combinations. When he manages to put together a good play to counter the fierce defense of Rennes, a shot from Verratti is sent into the corner by the interminable Mandanda, who first rejects him too and then swallows a couple of attempts from Messi.
There will be a FIFA appointment this week and that is why Messi will soon travel to Argentina, where on Thursday he will play against Panama at the River and on Tuesday the 28th against Curaçao in Santiago del Estero. And obviously now everyone is waiting for the 800th goal of his senior career (701 for clubs and 98 for the national team) with the Albiceleste shirt that has three stars embroidered above the Scudetto. And, why not, he will also be able to score 100 goals with Argentina.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.