Lionel Messi and his last role at PSG: Paris didn’t know how to enjoy it and let him leave without knowing his destination

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“Leo is magical and that’s great for us. He will bring many positive things to the club.”the president predicted Nasser Al-Khelaifi on August 11, 2021, during the presentation of Lionel Messi as star reinforcement of Paris Saint-Germain. “I had the privilege of managing the best player in football history”boasted Christopher Galtier this Thursday, shortly before confirming that on Saturday the man from Rosario will play his last match in the French champion’s shirt. In between, 659 days have passed in which the captain of the Argentina national team has never finished showing the best version of him and has been rejected to the point of insult by many fans.

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Finance specialists might argue that Messi’s move has had an extremely positive economic impact for PSG. which in two years has increased its market value by 68.7% (from 2,500 million dollars in 2021 to 4,212 today, according to Forbes magazine), mainly due to the growth of sponsorship contracts. However, bank accounts and sports scores weren’t in sync.

From the day Leo landed at Paris-Le Bourget airport dressed in a white T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Here C’est Paris” (This is Paris), it became clear that his mission would be to lead his new team towards the great goal that the club had been unsuccessfully pursuing since the investment fund Qatar Sports Investments he had taken the helm a decade earlier: the Champions League, which the Argentine had already won four times with Barcelona.

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This season, Paris Saint-Germain was eliminated in the round of 16 of the Champions League by Bayern Munich.  Photo: Angelika Warmuth/Reuters.

This season, Paris Saint-Germain was eliminated in the round of 16 of the Champions League by Bayern Munich. Photo: Angelika Warmuth/Reuters.

Not only did it fail, but his two appearances for PSG in Europe’s premier club competition ended in a bitter and premature elimination. And in both of them, her collaboration in the decisive moments was meager. In the 2021/22 season, you scored five goals in five group stage matches, but you made little contribution in the two round of 16 matches against Real Madrid that sealed the farewell. In the current season, you have scored four goals and provided four assists in five matches in zone H, but you have failed again in the two duels with Bayern Munich in the round of 16.

Modest consolation were the two titles won in Ligue 1 (the last guaranteed last Saturday, after the 1-1 draw against Racing de Strasbourg with a goal from Rosario), which made PSG the most successful club in the history of the competition: they reached 11 league titles and overtook Saint Etienne. Even smaller was the gratification generated by obtaining the Champions Trophy last July 31 in Tel-Aviv with a 4-0 victory over Nantes, in which Messi also contributed a goal.

His first year was one of adjustment and that was reflected in his numbers: He converted 11 goals in 2,873 minutes spread over 34 games (he also gave 15 assists). It was his lowest record since the 2005/06 season, when, aged just 18, he had scored 8 goals in 25 games (1,415 minutes) for Barça. In the current campaign he has played more and increased his figures: Scored 21 goals and provided 20 assists in 40 games (3,547 minutes).

That hasn’t stopped fans from identifying it as the emblem of a failed experiment that was carried out with a wallet: to support their squad, PSG recorded the highest wage bill in the history of European football, €728m, almost 200 million more than the previous record set in 2019 by Barcelona, ​​which then had Messi. With Kylian Mbappé safe from interrogation and with Neymar, a VIP patient in the club’s infirmary, absent due to injury since February, Rosario’s man has become the ideal punching bag to ease tension.

After Bayern Munich’s elimination from the Champions League in March, fans started booing whenever their name was heard over the loudspeakers in the Parco dei Principi and even during matches. The animosity was growing up until it reaches its peak in early May, when several hundred highly obfuscated fans insulted him during a rally in front of the club’s offices. “Messi son of a bitch,” they intoned in proper Spanish.

In these two years, the high points of Messi’s career were not directly related to his club. The highlight was, without a doubt, the conquest of the World Championship in Qatar with the Argentine team. In addition, in November 2021 he received at the Châtelet Theater in Paris the seventh Ballon d’Or with which he distinguished himself from France Football magazine and in February this year FIFA awarded him its second The best prize at the Salle Pleyel in the French capital.

Although PSG used him as one of the models for the video with which they presented the new shirt that the team will wear next season on Wednesday, it was an open secret that Leo would not extend their bond, which expires on June 30, despite his contract providing for this possibility. The confirmation came from the mouth of Galtier (another man who seems to be on counted time), who on Thursday announced that the farewell to the captain of the selected team would take place over the weekend, even if the club’s management then tried to reply that the DT had expressed himself badly and that the duel against Clermont for the 38th round of Ligue 1 would have been “Messi’s last with PSG this season”.

“Saturday will be his last match at Parque (de los Príncipes) and I hope he will be received in the best possible way,” asked the coach. After two years of such a strained relationship, a respectful silence seems to be the best Messi fans can offer.

Source: Clarin

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