Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino is now the latest coach in world football today to come to the defense of Lionel Messi’s first season with the Ligue 1 powerhouse.
Speaking to Esport 3, Pochettino touched on takeaways that he had from Messi’s debut campaign at PSG, where he noted that the forward’s adaptation period with the club was not quite effortless.
“Football in France is different and adapting to teammates is difficult,” Pochettino said. “Everyone thought he would end his career with Barcelona.
“For me, it has been a dream to coach him. He immediately earned the respect and affection of the people. For me, Messi is a leader. Not all leaders are the same. There are players who look like leaders and only shout.”
Messi had his fair share of ups and downs over his opening season with the reigning Ligue 1 champions. For one, the Argentine shined in the UEFA Champions League group stage, scoring five goals. However, he failed to muster up a single goal contribution for PSG in its Champions League round of 16 tie against Real Madrid.
Messi will not feature in any official matches over the remainder of this month, but he is slated to join PSG for its preseason schedule in July.