Messi played in the game against Real Madrid, but his performance is generating some doubts. What's happening?
LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla
The PSG of the stars faced the always competitive Real Madrid for the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. With a great goal at the end of the game Kylian Mbappe (one of those targeted for a couple of seasons to reinforce the merengues) PSG took a good first step to advance to the quarterfinals.
However, the skills shown by the French team sows some doubts. We not only refer to the collective, but also to the individual. One of the most notable is Lionel Messi, who has not yet managed to fit well in the Parisian squad. In this case, everyone expected the Argentinean to have a game that would consolidate him as team leader, which did not happen, not even having the possibility of converting a penalty.
The reasons? Simple: being an idol of FC Barcelona, where he spent much of his career, the original from Rosario got used to scoring goals in almost all the matches against Real Madrid. More specifically, he scored 26 goals between 2005 and 2021, being one of his "favorite victims". Messi even became the top scorer in the history of the classic between the two.
Now, the problem is that not only could he not convert in this new confrontation with PSG, but his level has not been the best either. In the second half, Messi had a great chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot... but Courtois, Real Madrid's Belgian goalkeeper, guessed his intention and prevented him from scoring his 27th goal against the Madrid club.
Messi's uneven adaptation to PSG
So what is happening to the recent Ballon d'Or winner? The first thing to note is that Messi's main rival is himself. This means that, surely, a bad game of his will be superior to a good one of almost any other player. For example, against Real Madrid he did not have his best performance, but he had some interesting moves, worthy of Champions League level.
The problem is that Messi does not seem to have the support he needs at this point in his career, except in the Argentine National Team. Curiously, he showed a great present there, as he meets a team that has a solid game idea and does not always depend on its performance to obtain a victory.
This did not happen in the last time in the FC Barcelona, since it was a team in reconstruction. It is not currently happening at PSG either, since it has a large number of players per position that prevents the coach, Mauricio Pochettino, from consolidating a game idea or an only squad.
It should also be noted that PSG carry on their shoulders the pressure of currently being the most powerful team on the planet. In addition, Messi was also a signing that caused many expectations in the soccer environment. Thus, any result that does not mean lifting a UEFA Champions League will be considered a failure.
On the other hand, we must not ignore what the adaptation to a different league implies. For example, the Spanish league is characterized by having teams that do not make as much defensive effort, something that allowed them more space to score goals. On the other hand, in France the pressure is constant, so this also influences their game.
Nor should we forget that the recent success in the Copa América 2021, where he was crowned after years of frustration, can also make him have his head elsewhere. This is one of the theories that some soccer fans have, since in Argentina he seems happier and more comfortable than when he has to face his commitments with the French team.
To understand this situation, you just need to see their numbers in the current season. With 21 games played, he has only reached 7 goals. Although it is a high figure for a forward from Europe, it seems really low for a player of the level of Messi. Comparing these records with any other year at FC Barcelona, everything seems to indicate that the level has dropped.
Likewise, it is logical that, at some point or another, its performance begins to become irregular. At the same time, we must remember that he is a 34-year-old soccer player, who unfortunately is in the final stretch of his career. While there is still plenty of time for the season to end, it is clear that Messi must prove at PSG why he is the best player in the world.