BarcelonaWhen Paris Saint-Germain made the arrival of Leo Messi official, in the editorial office of The Team –a reference in sports information in France – a full-scale image of the Argentine striker was displayed and more than one journalist was photographed. It was all about a historic signing. Half a year later, the editorial line of the prestigious newspaper exudes a certain disappointment with the performance of the former Barça player. The 3 out of 10 that he put on for his performance against Real Madrid went viral. But the dynamic comes from afar, because the average of all scores between league, Cup and Champions does not reach 5.
In Paris, Messi looks at himself with the eyes of the past, as if he had swallowed the secret formula of eternal youth and landed in the Parc des Princes to turn a set of galactic trading cards paid for with petrodollars into a champion team. High expectations for his signing have denied him any room for adaptation at PSG. Despite defeating Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League (1-0) and leading Ligue 1 with absolute superiority, Mauricio Pochettino’s team still does not convey good feelings.
“No one is untouchable The Team”Reflects Quentin Ballue, journalist of So Foot, on the evaluation criteria of the sports newspaper, which was already very critical of the style of play of the French team that ended up winning the 1998 World Cup and also with the current coach, Didier Deschamps, world champion in 2018. These positions auditors have led him to receive negative comments from the other side. Without going any further, PSG itself issued a statement calling it a “means of misinformation” following a news item explaining that the club had to sell some of its stars in order not to breach the fair play financial. “All the big clubs are critical The Team at some point, ”explains Ballue.
The media has followed the same line when assessing Messi’s performances. His average score in the league is 4.92 and is below that of PSG, the sixth state record despite having the lead in the competition with a 13-point advantage over Marseille. Madrid was not the first suspense of the season for the Argentine. In fact, it was the fourth time The Team rated it with a 3. In Ligue 1, the newspaper has suspended it more times (7) than it has approved (6). Last week he described the game against Madrid as “very disappointing” because “he did not make a decisive pass” and has not managed to score in the last eight clashes with the whites. “I did not understand the score. He missed the penalty, but collectively he was a key player to win, “said Antoine Donnarieix, a French sports journalist.
Consulted by ARA, Messi’s surroundings show relative surprise with the notes they put on the Argentine after the matches. “The dynamics of The Team with PSG comes from afar. And what happens now with Leo also happened with Neymar or Cavani. With all the non-French, go. It’s a war between them “, says a source very close to the former Barça player, who is focused on recovering his best level to help the club finally reign in the Champions League.
“The leader is Mbappé”
“Messi is not just any player, but he is judged as such. A lot is expected in Paris and that is why it is scored so harshly. At the moment it is a disappointment, because it is the player who has to take PSG to the next level and is not having the expected influence. The leader is Mbappé, ”says Ballue. And Donnarieix interprets that the newspaper, with this drift, “is doing everything possible so that Mbappé stays at PSG and does not leave for Madrid”.
Messi has scored 7 goals and 9 assists in 22 games. “I did not imagine a fantastic campaign in terms of numbers, because I think it still has to adapt to Paris, which is not easy,” says Donnarieix. Although Messi is far from his usual goal and assist figures, there are statistics that reflect his impact on the game. He is the Ligue 1 footballer who adds the most value to the plays through the pass and the one who most often brings the ball to the area all over Europe. In addition, he is the second footballer on the continent to generate the most shots, with almost seven per game. The sum of quality, however, is less showy.
The Barça ecosystem is impossible to replicate in the Parc dels Príncipes. PSG, although Pochettino allows him some licenses, cannot build a tailor-made environment for him. Messi has lost explosiveness and is increasingly calculating when he has to make great efforts. However, he maintains a superlative imagination and execution. The big problem for Paris is that winning the half-gas league does not set them up for the Champions League. Europe puts everyone in their place. And the short-term outlook from which Qatar is trying to build a winning checkbook is the same as demanding that Messi, 34, play as if he were still at the height of his career.