Lionel Messi at PSG – what changes from Barcelona to Paris?

Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain celebrate
Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain celebrate - IMAGO / Sebastian Frej

Lionel Messi’s exit from Barcelona sent shockwaves across the footballing world as the news came after it was believed that the Argentine would be penning a new deal with his long-time club. However, the PSG ultras felt over the moon as they would be seeing one of the greatest players in Les Parisien’s shirt for the next two years. Everybody must have thought that the 34-year-old would walk straight into the current lineup of PSG, but the stuttering start to his new life in Ligue 1 shows that grass is greener on the other side.

Messi’s privileges at Barcelona do not exist at PSG

Messi was simply the end all be all of Barcelona given his long history with the club and a plethora of trophies he helped them to win over the course. However, such freedom does not exist at the French capital club, and it became manifest after he got substituted by Mauricio Pochettino midway through the game against Lyon. The decision left everyone stunned as Pochettino opted to call Messi off in the final quarter and brought Achraf Hakimi in his place, especially when the scoreline stood 1-1. The former Blaugrana star was clearly unhappy with the decision as he refused to shake hands with his compatriot Pochettino. However, the former PSG defended the substitution by stating that it was done as a precautionary measure.

Pochettino said: “We made the decision to take Messi off because of a possible future injury. We have important matches coming up, and we have to protect him.”

During his time at Barcelona, Messi always wanted to remain on the pitch and fight till the end regardless of any fitness issues. There was even an instance when he refused to come off when then-manager Luis Enrique decided to substitute him.

Next up is the penalty duties. Messi was the primary penalty and free-kick taker at Barca, and we have hardly seen others fulfil his duties. However, at Parc des Princes, the penalty duties remain with Messi’s close friend Neymar. Even in the 2-1 win against Lyon in the weekend, the Brazilian took the penalty while many might have thought he would hand over the ball to the Argentine skipper. Even the 29-year-old attempted a free kick with Messi watching by his side.

Messi’s stuttering start to his PSG career

For a player of Messi’s calibre and the exceptional form he is enjoying in 2021 – he recently led Argentina to Copa America glory. Everybody thought that transition to Ligue 1 would be much easier. However, three games have passed, and the Argentine is yet to open his account. There were big expectations on Messi since he would be teaming up with two superstars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, but the harsh reality is the Argentine striker looks lost at times. It would be cruel to write him off while he is still in his early days in his new club. Messi went through a rough patch at the start of the last season at Barca. However, he silenced the doubters after he ended up as La Liga’s top goalscorer and assists provider.