The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matchup against Real Madrid wasn’t a good one for Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi. Furthermore, heavy rain of criticism came down on the 34-year-old, who didn’t play a significant role in influencing the outcome in the eyes of some French football pundits.
RMC Sport pundit Jérôme Rothen called out Lionel Messi on Rothen s’enflamme, labeling the 34-year-old as a fraud. However, others in the French media aren’t critical of the Argentine forward.
During a segment on L’Equipe de Greg (via Canal Supporters), French football pundit Pierre Bouby came to Messi’s defense. Bouby spotlighted that Messi leaving a club that he was at for 20 years was a culture shock.
“If he can still bring to PSG? Just asking the question shocks me… You don’t realize what just happened in your head in 6 months; it’s a psychological shock. You don’t come out of 20 years in a club where everything is dedicated to him by leaving in this way in a club that lacks structure. What is happening at PSG is not normal at other clubs,” Bouby said.
“He arrives in a context where for three months he only takes the plane to go back and forth with the national team, he catches the covid, he gets injured… I find that in the last three matches, we started to find Messi on his support, his dribbling. Maybe he’s not decisive, but at the same time, we don’t fit into a PSG team like that with almost only Mbappé, who holds Paris. You have to give him time, and I’m sure he’ll help Paris Saint-Germain.”
It will be interesting to see if there’s a better version of Messi having spent a year at PSG and in the French capital next season. Furthermore, being a year into his new environment and not moving at the end of the transfer window could also help.