Booing, few goals… Messi failed in PSG’s first season?

With just four Ligue 1 goals and four games remaining from the 2021/22 season, this is Lionel Messi as we’ve never seen him before.

At Barcelona, ​​the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner regularly set astronomical goalscoring records. For 12 consecutive seasons at the Camp Nou, Messi has scored at least 25 league goals, including 50 goals in 2011/12.

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However, in his first venture away from his training club, he is unlikely to hit double figures in his remaining four games.

Indeed, Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino indicated at the pre-match press conference that the focus is on having Kylian Mbappé as the league’s top scorer. Indeed, this is a major attempt to entice the Frenchman to stay at the club, with Real Madrid closely watching these moves.

Mbappé’s explosive season, however, came, to some extent, at the expense of Messi, who saw his role on the pitch subtly shifted from protagonist to waiter of sorts.

This was, at least in part, due to Messi’s adaptation time to French football, which put Mbappé at the forefront of the team.

There was also an unwelcome element to their low goal count. After all, no player, in any of Europe’s big five leagues, has hit the post more than Messi, who has hit eight times – twice as many as he scored.

As much as his critics like to watch his underperformance – even fans themselves have booed him this season – there are legitimate reasons why he worked hard.

Worse, their level was analyzed largely through a prism of goal.

Lionel Messi Kylian Mbappe PSG GFX

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Given his new role and the problems PSG has had to consolidate as a whole, Messi’s personal struggles have been blown out of proportion, although there’s no denying that no one expected him to be so low on goals at this stage of the season.

“It’s a more physical league, where the games are very disputed, where there are many comings and goings,” Messi said. sport, a few weeks after arriving at PSG. “The players are strong and fast. Physically, it changes a lot.”

“In Spain, all teams try to play a lot more and keep the ball away from you if you don’t press well. The biggest difference, though, is physically.”

Maurício Pochettino, the team’s coach, also explained the challenges his countryman faced.

“Between Covid, injuries and the Argentine national team that calls him every month, his chances of adaptation are limited,” he said, to the El Paisin February.

“He never made excuses and neither did we. But he’s never played for any club other than Barcelona and when you join a new team you always go through a natural process of finding your place.”

“Injuries, travel and not being with your teammates add time for the team to adapt or for you to find the best version of yourself.”

And it’s been evident since he plays regularly that the magic still lingers, but not in the way fans around the world have come to see.

Instead of a born goalscorer, Messi has become an assistant.

Neymar Lionel Messi GFX PSG

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In the same way that his longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo has adapted his game as he has aged to become a centre-forward and therefore more resourceful in the area, the Argentinian now occupies spaces between midfield and attack to provide opportunities. to others, like Mbappé.

Messi has scored 13 goals this season, with an assist every 138 minutes.

There are only four players in all of Europe who have played more than 10 full games this season and are below the rate of one assist every 138 minutes. The only one to catch up to Messi is his former Barcelona teammate Ousmane Dembélé.

In terms of minutes per chance created, he is comfortably in the top 20 players in Europe’s top five leagues, although Neymar actually leads PSG in this category.

There is no doubt that Messi is still showing elite numbers, but they are in a different capacity than fans have become accustomed to for nearly 15 years at Barcelona.

Meanwhile, there are glowing indications of what he’s still capable of when given the time and space.

His Champions League goal against Manchester City – his first for the club – was executed in trademark style, but last weekend’s goal against Lens, which sealed the Ligue 1 title, was even bigger.

Criticism of Messi, therefore, has been somewhat exaggerated. After a difficult transition to PSG, he is now part of the team’s midfield base.

Mbappé may be the star, but the Argentine’s role is crucial.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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