As the weeks go by, Lionel Messi’s extension to Paris Saint-Germain seems more and more compromised. Victim of the disenchantment of the supporters who reproach him for his lack of involvement, the captain of Argentina could move at the end of the season.
“The mornings follow one another and look alike when love gives way to everyday life. We weren’t made to live together. It’s not always enough to love each other…” The end of the story between Lionel Messi and PSG looks a little more like every day a song by Joe Dassin : a slow divorce “which is going a little too well”.
The contrast is heavy with the optimism that reigned just before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Between Paris and the star, we only talked about details to be settled concerning the extension of his contract. The ace. Whistles against the Argentinian came down from the stands on Sunday during the match lost against Lyon (1-0), where he only on rare occasions showed his genius and sometimes played while walking.
“The dynamic has completely changed with PSG pushing less to renew, the attitude of the supporters has completely changed the situation,” a source close to the club told AFP. Lionel Messi’s departure is now ‘much more likely, but not certain’.
A sporting failure in Paris
Source of all fantasies when signing the Argentinian in Paris, the so prestigious “MNM” Messi-Neymar-Kylian Mbappé could end in a sporting failure: with its magic trio, PSG only won one championship of France. He is well placed to win it again this season but remains on two defeats in a row at home, against Rennes (2-0) then Lyon, while Lens and OM are still dangerous. In the Coupe de France, competition-queen of Paris if there is one, it is not much better: two eliminations since the arrival of Messi.
— the chain L’Équipe (@lachainelequipe) April 2, 2023
However, it is especially in the Champions League that the shoe pinches. With Lionel Messi, PSG was supposed to finally pass a mental milestone. However, he remains on two eliminations in a row in the round of 16. Closer to regression than progression. He is, for example, like other teammates who missed his 8e Champions League final against Bayern Munich (1-0/2-0).
Moreover, the superstar’s transplant seems never to have fully taken, despite some nice moments, his goal against Manchester City in the fall of 2021 or a last-second free kick against Lille (4-3), on February 19. , a night when he didn’t show much else but delivered victory as a champion, a good summary of his on-and-off genius in Paris.
The whistles, crime of lèse-majesté
In the eyes of many Parisian supporters, the “Pulga” symbolizes the bad choices of management, more political and marketing than sporting. And when Messi fails to shine in the Champions League, they often blame him. This was already the case after the elimination against Madrid in 2022. Whistles which at the time injured the player and shocked Argentina. The 2023 vintage of boos does not go better
“After being venerated in Argentina, he was harassed in Paris”, writes the newspaper Clarín. At the Parc des Princes, the 35-year-old world champion “was received with a mixture of whistles and indifference, a situation which, although not new, continues to surprise”, reports the Argentinian sports newspaper Olé .
Brilliant before the World Cup, Messi is much less so with the red and blue jersey since he finally won the Grail, on his fifth attempt, against Kylian Mbappé’s France.
🗣️ “Whistles against Messi aren’t really against him. No one can whistle Messi.”
Adulated in Argentina, criticized at PSG, return to the striking contrast that the sevenfold Ballon d’Or is currently experiencing in France.#PSG I #Messi I #PrimeVideoLigue1 pic.twitter.com/Yp1cxUZmAI
— Prime Video Sport France (@PVSportFR) April 2, 2023
“Argentina was a haven for Leo. A place to feel safe. At PSG, he lost that condition, after the Champions League fiasco. Mbappé is God in the club but Rosario’s man is not unanimous,” said the Barcelona sports daily Mundo Deportivo.
End of the bling-bling era?
The Qatari owners haven’t lost sight of the benefits of having the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner under contract. His arrival in Paris, where he had been welcomed like an emperor, helped expose Ligue 1, boosted merchandising and caused the club to be talked about around the world. But within the Parisian management, the question arises of keeping a player who will be 36 years old at the end of his contract, who weighs 40 million euros per year on the payroll of a club closely watched by the fair. financial play.
From internal source quoted by the Team, the club could offer a slight drop in salary to its n°30, which would encourage him to leave. Negotiations to extend his contract, which runs until 2024, should occupy the Parisian summer, which must also reflect on the future of his coach, Christophe Galtier, and his football adviser, Luis Campos.
Their arrival in the summer of 2022 was supposed to mark a turning point in PSG’s sports policy. A policy built around its star Kylian Mbappé and a less “bling-bling” project, more oriented towards the breeding ground of Île-de-France, the world’s second “producer” of professional footballers after the region of São Paulo (Brazil ). Will the promise finally be kept in the summer of 2023 ?
“Letting Messi go would be a continuation of that cultural change,” the source explains, “but the fans are going to have to adapt because you can’t have both. If you go for youth, that means the results won’t be machines. They will have to be patient”.
Barça, USA or Saudi Arabia?
If he doesn’t stay in Paris, Leo Messi is spoiled for choice for his final years. Barça, his home throughout his career, is eyeing him, while Cules fans would dream of a return to the fold of “Pulga”.
“The possibility that Leo Messi could join Barca from 1er July is an idea that would emotionally fill many Catalans with joy. Not all of them, but a large majority who found themselves with a lump in their throat and a heavy heart watching how the player who scored the most goals (in club history) – and what goals – […] left through the back door, sorry, and without having said goodbye to his Camp Nou fans”, summed up in a edito Fernando Polo, deputy director of Mundo Deportivo.
Still, Barca are the only European club openly interested in the aging star. But, for what would then be a pre-retirement, Messi has other options : Al-Hilal club, defending champion of the championship of Saudi Arabia, would have started to discuss with the father of the star. The Saudi kingdom, in the midst of a diplomatic-sports offensive, would like to see a last legendary duel between the Argentinian and Cristiano Ronaldo, now a resident of Al-Nassr.
Finally, the hypothesis that comes up most often is a departure for MLS in North America, a fashionable destination for future football retirees. Inter Miami is going out of its way to welcome him and the club would even be ready to resort to a wacky financial arrangement for him to come to the United States : the idea would be that each franchise in the championship participates in the fees. The argument being that all the teams in the championship would benefit from the influence of the Argentinian on the MLS.
Far from Paris, Messi has not finished causing madness.
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