The first season of Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain hasn’t gone as planned. Since arriving in the capital club last summer, the 34-year-old has struggled to adapt to French football. As a result, the Argentine hasn’t scored the number of goals many expected.
Furthermore, Messi didn’t have a presence in the French giant’s UEFA Champions League elimination. The only time he had an opportunity to make his mark was the missed penalty kick in the first leg against Real Madrid.
Former Poland national team manager Antoni Piechniczek spoke with Natemat (via Marca) and commented on the current form of Messi, saying that Poland’s matchup at the FIFA World Cup against Argentina would’ve been more exciting if it were five or six years ago.
“This duel would have been more interesting if Lionel Messi had been five or six years younger,” Piechniczek said.
“Let’s be honest… Messi is now the grandfather of the forest. This is no longer the footballer he was just a few years ago. It is not clear what role he will play in the World Cup in Qatar.”
Furthermore, Piechniczek stated that if Messi’s form with Paris Saint-Germain continues and translates to his play with Argentina later this year, the manager, Lionel Scaloni, should consider having him come off the bench.
“It is possible that the coach decides to put him on the bench given the current level of Messi. A role like Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Swedish team,” Piechniczek said.
“Play the last 15-20 minutes of a match. It can happen that Messi plays a sensational tournament, but seeing how he looks in the colors of Paris Saint-Germain, he is not the same Messi as before.”
Argentina and Poland are in Group C along with Mexico and Saudi Arabia.