Happiness at work is a topic in the air, even at Paris Saint-Germain, even as much as traveling by private plane in a period of energy silence. Since the beginning of the season, Lionel Messi is finally a fully 35-year-old employee and still hopes to prove it in his next professional trip, in Lisbon, to face Benfica, during the 3e Champions League Day, this Wednesday, October 6.
However, a Messi well on his head and his crampons is a Messi found, according to Christophe Galtier. ” The relationship he has with his partners in training sessions indicates that he is happy, and when he is happy, he performs and regains the standards he has had throughout his career. summarized the Parisian coach after the victory over Nice (2-1).
Saturday 1eh October, the Argentinian even found the instructions for the unstoppable direct free kick, a document we thought had been forgotten in Barcelona. It was his first at PSG, but the sixtieth of his career for one whose former Catalonia teammate, defender Nelson Semedo, once confessed he had never seen Messi train there. ‘teaching. Talent, no doubt. However, shot quality is often considered a good indicator of a footballer’s form. If this is the case, one thing is clear: the seven-time Ballon d’Or will be better than during a disappointing first season and considered an inevitable decline and a failed marriage of convenience between the star and Paris . .
Messi is the son and son of a club, this Barça he joined at 13 and left twenty-one years (and 667 goals) later, full of tears and regrets. An annual salary of 30 million euros does not protect against nostalgia. The native of Rosario experienced this departure from Barcelona as a second uprising. At the end of May, he opened up about it in an interview for the Argentine channel TyCSPorts. “If the children have fully adapted to their new life, Antonella and I have had a harder time. On the children’s first day of school, we cry. We were like, “What are we doing here? What happened?” It was a change and a difficult year. When you’ve been somewhere your whole life, especially at my age, it’s not easy. »
But the thesis of necessary adaptation does not tell everything. The (free) arrival of the Argentinian is a market opportunity. In not refusing. Problem is, it is not prepared and thought within the framework of a collective balance. This is not the first time for PSG, and Messi gave the impression of finding his place and his football under the command of Mauricio Pochettino, coach of PSG during the 2021-2022 season. There are the numbers (six league goals for someone who has trivialized seasons in his thirties or so) and the general impression. Often banished to the right side of the attack, Messi was like a deposed emperor in Saint Helena.
“When Leo smiles, the team smiles too”
Once he arrived this summer, Christophe Galtier returned the 30-year-old to the middle of the game, in an old-fashioned position at number 10, in support of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, with a 3-4-1 system 2 .During the pre-season camp in Japan, the two men discussed the topic at length and Galtier praised “the very sharp tactical sense ” of the former Barça. Another way of saying that the player knows what is good for him and the 4-3-3 of his predecessor is not the best fit for the Messi of 2022. “When Leo smiles, the team smiles too”, summary of the new Parisian coach, in August, to justify this choice.
Why didn’t you think of it before? In his defense, the much-criticized Pochettino is not under his command this Messi with regained legs and breath. Arriving in France unprepared last summer, the striker ran off the back of his form between two round trips to Argentina to compete in World Cup qualifying, a knee injury and a Covid contracted at Christmas adding to the complications this. “It left scars on my lungs,” confessed to the person concerned, in May.
With Messi, technical genius often makes us forget the importance of physicality, including this famous “stroke of stones”. Losing the ability to change gears at the touch of a button, the left-hander became a stagnant dribbler, a racing car stuck in second gear. Today, the Argentinian racing car is rushing again and its statistics are running at levels more worthy of its talent (six goals in eleven games). Sometimes substituted (without much complaint) but still a starter, he is especially expected in February, in the final stages of the Champions League.
A sentence that applies to Neymar, Mbappé and all the stars PSG has recruited and passed on for a decade. But until then, “La Pulga” also lives, eats and runs to finally win the third world champion star for his country, the first for him. With his return from his stay in Qatar, it is time to move forward with the question of his future in Paris.
There is an optional contract year left at the player’s discretion. “I’m happy with Leo”, Luis Campos is not against the idea of seeing it extended. ” I told him I hope he stays for the three years of my contract. revealed the club’s highly influential sports advisor, interviewed by RMC, in September. Nothing is concrete yet, but the release of the idea proves that, in the mind of the PSG management, Messi does not only sell shirts with his name. He still knows how to be decisive to win matches. As is almost always the case.