On August 10, 2021, the football world held its breath as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) announced the arrival of Lionel Messi. This move felt like a cataclysm, as no one could envision Messi in any other jersey than Barcelona’s.
But with Barcelona’s financial difficulties, they were forced to let their star player go, thus marking the beginning of Messi’s journey with PSG.
A Calculated Misstep: Signing Messi
Signing Messi might have been a miscalculation for PSG. The team already had a young, diligent, admired player – Neymar.
Despite Neymar’s nocturnal lifestyle and frequent injuries, the team seemed to be looking at a bright future. However, Messi’s arrival complicated the dynamics within the team.
The Ascend of Mbappe and the Decline of Neymar
As Neymar receded in importance, the French press propelled Kylian Mbappe into superstardom. Mbappe became everything Neymar was not.
Despite his commendable performance, Mbappe found himself in a tricky situation with the arrival of Messi. Tensions escalated as Mbappe’s contract ended and the tussle for the center of the project became intense.
A Clash of Titans and Egos
There is no feasible way to make a player the center of a project that includes Messi. Even if you don’t appreciate the player, Messi’s football history is testament to his undeniable skills and contribution.
However, what went wrong was the team’s failure to recognize and respect Messi’s seniority and expertise in the game.
A Media Harassment of Messi
What’s appalling is the French press’s relentless criticism of Messi, a player who never disputed Mbappe’s status. Each stumble of the team was unfairly attributed to Messi, instigating an undue resentment towards the legend.
The Breakdown: Messi and Galtier
If you look closely, there seems to have been a significant break between Messi and the PSG’s coach, Galtier. Messi bears a great deal of responsibility for what has transpired at PSG.
The team expected Messi to adapt to the new environment, which he failed to do, leading to further tension within the team.
Messi’s Downfall and Joan Laporta’s Role
The main instigator behind this fiasco is none other than Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta. If he had been honest with Messi about the club’s financial issues and his imminent departure, Messi would have had time to negotiate with other teams and ensure a smoother transition.
Messi’s Impact on PSG’s Tactical Setup
Since Messi’s arrival at PSG, the team’s tactical setup has faced numerous challenges. Despite his individual brilliance, Messi struggled to form a cohesive attacking trio with Neymar and Mbappe, the famed MNM.
It’s worth considering that Barcelona’s system was built around Messi, allowing him to operate at his best. PSG, however, was a different beast with its pre-existing stars and tactical inclinations.
A further question arises—could PSG have done a better job in integrating Messi into their tactical setup? Arguably, yes. A player of Messi’s calibre should be the focal point of any team.
This has inevitably caused a disbalance, as other players like Mbappe, who were previously central to the team’s gameplay, may have felt marginalized.
Messi’s Relationship with the Fans
One thing that has been particularly striking about Messi’s time at PSG is the fan’s reaction. The Parisian fans, used to stars like Zlatan Ibrahimović and Neymar, initially welcomed Messi with open arms.
However, the relationship soured over time, largely due to the team’s underperformance and Messi’s perceived lack of commitment.
This raises important questions about how star players integrate with fanbases and the expectations placed on them. Messi was not just expected to perform on the field but also to build a rapport with the PSG faithful—a task he seemed to struggle with.
Long-term Consequences for PSG
Looking forward, it’s clear that Messi’s time at PSG has had a significant impact on the club. PSG’s gamble of signing Messi in the hope of winning the Champions League has not paid off, leading to a sense of disillusionment.
Furthermore, this saga has had implications for the club’s contract negotiations with other players. The substantial financial commitment made to Messi may have strained PSG’s resources, potentially affecting their ability to retain or attract other top talent.
In conclusion, Lionel Messi’s stint at PSG can be seen as a complex chapter in his illustrious career. It was a period marked by high expectations, intense media scrutiny, and ultimately, disappointment.
However, the impact of this will be felt far beyond Messi’s individual legacy, influencing PSG’s future approach to player recruitment, contract negotiations, and their on-field tactics.
As we move forward, only time will tell how the Messi experiment will shape the future of Paris Saint-Germain.
Whether seen as a bold gamble that didn’t pay off or a miscalculation, one thing is for sure: Messi’s time at PSG has been anything but indifferent.