For the first time since arriving this past summer, Lionel Messi has seen a significant amount of criticism come his away from the French football media. Following his performance against Real Madrid, the 34-year-old was on the receiving end of some harsh remarks.
Nonetheless, some are standing up for Messi, including former PSG manager Luis Fernandez. The former bench boss stated that the Argentine plays differently with the capital club than with FC Barcelona. Furthermore, Fernandez adds where Messi should be playing on the pitch.
“I saw him play at Barca. There was speed with pass controls, and it went on. At PSG, it carries the ball ten times. How do you want to play with it or highlight it?” Fernandez said on beIN Sports (via Canal Supporters). “When Neymar came back, he broke lines with his speed. Leave Messi alone. Until the end of the match against Real, he made good passes when we are told he is tired.”
“This guy is not tired. I hear comments about it (…) He played a very good game. With PSG, he has an ambition, even if it was hard at first. He has the Champions League in mind, and everyone wants to bring him. You have to put him in the middle behind the attackers. Do not ask him to go right, left, or let the guys not carry the ball and give it to him quickly.”
Messi will look to build up a solid run of matches over these next couple of weeks leading into the return leg at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The former Barcelona forward has plenty of memorable moments, so both Messi and PSG hope he can add to that come March 9th.
Should the Ligue 1 side crash out and Messi not play his best, the criticisms from the French media will continue to come and perhaps get worse.