Lionel Messi is getting closer and closer to the end of his football career. His achievements are almost unparalleled and his performances are something that will be studied for decades or even centuries. Those who have followed his career know this better than anyone else. But in 2021, because of FC Barcelona’s internal issues, Leo Messi decided that it was time to move on. So, he crossed the Pyrenees and went to PSG, France’s greatest team of the last 10 years.
PSG Before Messi
Paris Saint-Germain started its era of dominance in French football in 2012 – 2013. That season, they won Ligue 1 for the first time in 20 years and then built a solid team around a few exceptional players. This team then went on to win 3 more consecutive titles followed by a 1-year break and then 3 other consecutive titles.
In 2020 – 2021, PSG missed once again the title win, this time by just 1 point. It was a painful result for everyone at the club and it probably pushed the owners over the edge. Something had to be done to ensure that the following seasons would be easier. And since Messi was clearly not happy with his career at FC Barcelona, he was the main target for the French club.
There are many reasons why PSG chose Messi. The two most obvious ones are the transfer fee and his reputation as the greatest football player of all time. Just the player-related merchandise alone was going to make PSG rich. Let alone all the other perks that come with signing a player who is known by billions around the globe.
Messi’s transfer fee was $0. And that’s because his former club, FC Barcelona, messed up in a big way and had to give up its superstar without any financial gain.
Another reason why Messi was such an attractive choice had to do with his raw skills. At 34, he may not be as good as he was at 27. But he’s still phenomenal, and that was immediately felt by fans, teammates, and rivals alike.
Messi’s career at FC Barcelona started at just 17 years old. The player was introduced on the pitch in a match against Albacete and scored his first goal during the same match. Since then, he has won 10 league titles and 4 UEFA Champions Leagues. Without a doubt, few footballers can be compared with him and he will likely go down as one of the best players in the history of the game.
PSG After Messi
After Lionel Messi joined PSG at the start of 2021 – 2022, the French club was invigorated by his presence. He didn’t even play that well for a few matches, but the fact that he was there simply motivated everyone to train harder and compete with an improved level of focus.
PSG’s first match of the season was played against Reims. The final score was 2 – 0 for the French powerhouse thanks to 2 goals scored by Mbappe. Messi entered the game relatively late, substituting Neymar. But his presence was felt at times.
The second match took place against Clermont and Messi didn’t play at all. Despite this, the score was once again an excellent one for PSG: 4 – 0. Goals from Mbappe, Gueye, and Herrera sealed the fate of the game, and it was obvious to everyone that PSG was fighting for the title again. This time though, with the intention to win the championship early.
The 3rd match was a challenging one. Messi played for 76 minutes and did a good job for his team. But he didn’t score, nor did he make any assists. The goals of the team were scored by Neymar (penalty) and Icardi. For the first time since the start of the 2021 – 2022 season, PSG had to make a comeback from 0 – 1 to win the match. Lyon was a formidable opponent and only experience and skill saved PSG the 3 points.
In the 4th match of the season, PSG encountered Metz and won with a score of 1 – 2. Once again, Messi did not play at all.
In the 5th match, once again, Messi had to watch his team from the bench. PSG won with a score of 2 – 0. His next match came against Rennes and was a humiliating defeat (0 – 2). This time he played the entire match but could not do much to break Rennes’ defence down.
Against Angers (2 – 1), Messi didn’t play a single minute. The team eventually won the battle, but it was not easy at all.
The 7th match of PSG in 2021 – 2022 was a 0 – 0 against Marseille. Once again, Messi played for 90 minutes but was not able to help his team.
Then came a series of excellent matches for PSG, bringing the team to a record of 11 W -1 D – 1 L.
Comparison to Previous Seasons
Despite not being the main star of PSG, Messi is clearly helping quite a bit. Otherwise, how do you explain the 10-point difference between his team and the 2nd place competitor, Lens, at such an early stage of the season?
PSG’s next match will be against Nantes. Given the strength of the two teams, the odds of this match will probably heavily favour Messi’s team.