The second half of Paris Saint-Germain’s didn’t go as planned, with the elimination in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 to Bayern Munich and barely winning the 2022-23 Ligue 1 race.
In a recent interview, Lionel Messi explained how the 2022 FIFA World Cup significantly impacted PSG this season, derailing their campaign in the latter half.
The World Cup, held in Qatar, brought together the world’s best players, including Messi and Mbappé. Their journey culminated in reaching the final, which took place in December 2022.
“I think that in general, the level of the Championship or the Champions League has been impacted by this World Cup,” Messi told beIN Sports (h/t Paris Fans). “Victory or not, everyone came back changed, for different reasons. I achieved the most important goal for me, winning the World Cup.
“I never thought about individual rewards; I always put the collective before everything, and to have been able to achieve this goal, it comes to close an extraordinary career.”
While the World Cup was a momentous occasion for both players, it also had unintended consequences for PSG. The intense physical and mental exertion of a major tournament like the World Cup can take its toll on players, impacting their subsequent performances at the club level.
The demanding schedule of domestic leagues and European competitions, combined with the fatigue from the World Cup, hindered their ability to perform at their usual extraordinary levels.
To compound PSG’s challenges, Neymar, another crucial member of the team’s attacking trident, suffered an injury during this period.
“Everything was going fine,” Messi continued. “I liked this city more and more, with a new coach, a new style of play. It’s not an excuse, but the World Cup played a big role. Some came back later than others, some got injured, like Neymar. It played a big role in our season; it changed our plans.”
Messi will close his chapter with PSG on June 30 when his contract expires and he signs with Inter Miami to continue his career in MLS.