Lionel Messi will become a free agent on June 30 as his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires. These last few contests will likely be his last in the French capital, so the summarization of his tenure has already begun.
Athletic Bilbao and former PSG midfielder Ander Herrera discussed Messi’s tenure with the French giants while noting that the big players pay the price for the club’s UEFA Champions League obsession.
“I admired Leo before knowing him and after knowing him,” Herrera said in a recent interview. “I admire him even more as a footballer and as a person. I understand that PSG is a club that do not have much patience. There is an obsession to win the Champions League that doesn’t help.
“And of course, I think that they’re the only team in the world that if they don’t win the Champions League, it is a failure. All other teams can have a good season without winning the Champions League, like Barcelona, for instance … But in Paris, this patience and calmness does not exist even though things take time.
“I was very close to winning it [in 2020]. One goal separated me from being a Champions League winner with PSG. It is true that you perceive that there is an obsession to win the Champions League, and in the end, who pays for it? The best players on the team. They are the ones that receive the criticism. It goes with the salary as we say.”
PSG brought Messi to help the French giants win the Champions League as the squad had been close to winning the competition. In 2020, PSG reached the final but fell to Bayern Munich. Then in 2021, the capital club got to the semifinals but lost to Manchester City.
Undoubtedly, many pundits in all languages will examine what went wrong for Messi and PSG. Also, there will be many with their beliefs as to why the club couldn’t take that next step in winning the Champions League and instead regressed, losing in the Round of 16 in 2022 and 2023.