What if Lionel Messi was once again a monster at Barça, despite the weight of the years?

At Toulouse Stadium,

There were no surprises this Wednesday night in Toulouse. PSG, champion of Ligue 1, dominated the champion of Ligue 2, who nevertheless defended his skin well in an incandescent stadium (0-3). TFC has long been able to do better than the resistance, thanks to an aggressive tactic developed by Philippe Montanier: “We had to close the axis while controlling the pistons, decipher the coach of the promoted. Have three- road defense [Rouault-Nicolaisen-Diarra] allowed the centrals to come out very high. »

But finally talent spoke and goalkeeper Maxime Dupé, stratospheric with his nine saves, was ironic in the mixed zone when he was pointed out that the Violets’ good fight still ended in a clear defeat. “Are we not at the level or are they too strong for Ligue 1? »

For Lionel Messi, the question was quickly answered. It was no surprise to see the seven-time Ballon d’Or open the game (courtesy VAR) with an opening love for a Neymar who has been on fire since the start of the season, after a good combination with Marco Verratti and Kylian Mbappé (38th). Except that the first year of Paris of the former idol of Barcelona has reason to wonder about the nature of the second. The balance is far from infamous for a 34-year-old striker (he has 35 since June): 11 goals (including 6 in L1) and 15 assists in 34 games in all competitions .

Speeding up like in the good old Catalan times

But, despite the statistics, the contrast is clear in his best Catalan years, between an often questionable body language and a passion for walking, not new, but clearly increased. To the point at times giving the impression that PSG have recruited Yoann Diniz’s Argentinian cousin, rather than the elusive elf from the Camp Nou. To tell the truth, we never thought that the captain of the Albiceleste had the ability to sail like the one that allowed him to deliver, from a perfectly set back cross, a new offering, this time to Mbappé, in the second goal of Paris (50th).

“The “MNM”? We can only be satisfied with their performances: Ney and Kilian score, Messi offers two assists”, said Christophe Galtier afterwards, who knows that he has in his hands a cocktail as rare as it is explosive, to be handled with extreme caution. The Argentinian made a funny face that inspired Twitter in his exit on Sunday, against Monaco (1-1). If he was replaced again at the Stadium (by Hakimi in the 83rd) after seeing Dupé prevented him from improving his statistics despite some good initiatives, it is rather the image of a Neymar who is not happy-happy bending the saplings from the 68th minute that we will remember.

“No one is happy to go out but I thought that after a very good fight on his part it was the right time for Ney, killed Galtier. The same with Leo. They know and this is also a way to have our workers. Of course, we will never know what Messi thought of his replacement.

Along with Marco Verratti (also very good this Wednesday), he was one of the first Parisians to cross the mixed zone of Toulouse dare-dare, without a word, to join the bus in the forecourt, in front of a crowd shouting his name and where not only PSG supporters. Just like the dozen people who stood in front of our press box, phone in hand, when one of the best players of all time was remembered by Galtier on the bench. You never know: “Pulga” may have delivered its one and only recital at the Stadium.

The Ballon d’Or snub

With three goals and four assists in five games, Messi looks set for a season worthy of his rank, having finished the previous one in style with his selection. Not enough to escape the snub, because he is not, logically, on the list of 30 nominated for the Ballon d’Or. A good World Cup combined with a long run in the Champions League will allow him to shake off the hatred next year. And if he can cheer us on on the way to our friendly Ligue 1 stadium before returning to Barcelona or crossing the Atlantic, we welcome that too, of course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *