Lionel Messi’s departure from Paris Saint Germain has been one of the stories of the summer, with the World Cup winner having been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia and a return to Barcelona, before he finally joined Inter Miami in the MLS.
One of the most intriguing subplots has been the reasons for leaving PSG and he’s now shed some light on it by talking of a ‘rift’ between supporters of the French club and their superstar players like himself, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Messi arrived at PSG as one of football’s greatest-ever talents, but it’s fair to say that his debut season was a difficult one, scoring just six league goals and failing in his mission to finally bring the Champions League trophy to the Parc des Princes.
After the hype of his arrival from Barcelona, there seemed to be little patience on the terraces at a club already in a state of near-constant turmoil. His fellow superstars Neymar and Mbappe had also been singled out for criticism by fans.
This treatment hasn’t just been an issue for star players since the club’s domestic superiority began with the Qatari takeover either. The likes of Rai, George Weah and Ronaldinho had also been booed in the past for their efforts – or perceived lack of – in a PSG shirt.
‘A rift with a large section of the paris crowd’
Messi told RMC Sport: “At first it was great, I received a lot of encouragement as I’ve often said, but then people started to treat me differently, some of the Paris fans. The majority, on the other hand, treated me as well as they did at the start.
“There was a rift with a large section of the Paris crowd. Of course it wasn’t my intention.
“But these are things that have already happened with Mbappé and Neymar too, it’s their way of doing things. But I still remember all those people who supported me, as they did at the start.”
Messi’s second season at the Parc des Princes had seemed to start better than his first, with a goal every 138 minutes and an assist every 118 minutes before the World Cup. But that’s when things really turned sour for him in Paris.
Returning home a world-conquering hero for his country meant that Messi had finally achieved his number one goal, but this meant little to Parisian fans who were waiting to see that same level of performance for their club.
Unfortunately, the opposite happened and a post-World Cup hangover seemed to affect Messi, with his goals now coming every 210 minutes and assists only every 420 minutes. Talk of renewing his contract at PSG also died down amidst rumors that he was flirting with Barça or joining Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia.
All of this was happening in the back-drop to a particularly turbulent season for PSG. They won Ligue 1 but only by a single point, having lost 7 games, all since the World Cup. They won it with a whimper too, helped by a draw with lowly Strasbourg before losing at home to Clermont on the final day.
But where it really counted, in the Champions League, they went out 3-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich in the Round of 16, after which, the booing of stars like Messi went into overdrive and continued for the rest of the season, making for an unhappy end to a difficult two years for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.