Lionel Messi, a return to Paris and some outstanding questions

Since the coronation of Argentina in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar at the expense of the Blues (3-3; 4-2 pens), on December 18, the question is on everyone’s lips: what reception is in store for Lionel Messi on his return in France?

The plane of the Albiceleste playmaker and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker landed at Le Bourget airport (Seine-Saint-Denis), on the afternoon of Tuesday January 3. The next morning, he went to Camp des Loges, the training center of PSG in forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines). The Ile-de-France team posted a video on Twitter where we see him, all smiles, receiving some congratulations from those present around the training center, before joining some of his teammates to the team. He was then treated to a guard of honor from them and the staff as he entered the lawn.

Probably have to wait until January 11 and the reception of Angers, on behalf of the 18e day of Ligue 1, to find out the public opinion of the Parc des Princes. But when the imminent return of the Flea – his nickname – was announced, after the loss to Lens (3-1), Week 1eh January, the PSG coach wants to be reassured. “He will obviously be well received”, said Christophe Galtier to the media. A clarification is needed again, after the questionable celebrations of some Albiceleste supporters and players targeting his teammate Kylian Mbappé.

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“Leo is not the one who did the chamber, we have to leave him. There’s no reason to mix it all up”, tried to convince the technician before the resumption of the championship, at the end of December. However, his number 30 did not try to end it either, even hilariously with the goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, leader of the provocations targeting the Frenchman. What is to be feared, therefore, is a cold reception at the Porte d’Auteuil, and more widely in France.

On Sunday, Kylian Mbappé was given a standing ovation at the Bollaert stadium before the start of the match against Lens. “We are very grateful for what he did during the World Cup. But not onlyexplained RCL captain Seko Fofana. The image he represents off the field should also be respected. He is a very good player. » Lionel Messi, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and favorite for the 2023 edition, is also a very good player. The image he brought back off the field has been somewhat tarnished since his coronation at the emirate.

The Argentinian won the “best of trophies” at the end of a competition where he is “very good” – he was voted the best player of the tournament – ​​notes Christophe Galtier on 1eh January. Before continuing: “It is especially necessary, now that he has achieved this incredible goal, to remember what he has done since the beginning of the season with the team. He is a decisive player for us. » A way of saying that the Qatari parenthesis is closed and that it is now time to close the debate.

The Flea now wins over everyone

Kylian Mbappé himself tried to stop the brewing fire as soon as he returned to the field. According to the native of Bondy (Seine-Saint-Denis), there is no question of giving more importance to the dubious celebrations of the playmaker’s compatriots. ” That’s not my problem. I don’t waste my energy on trivial things. The most important thing for me is to give the best of myself for my club. We’ll wait for Leo to come back to win games and score the objectives.” he explained in the mixed zone after PSG’s victory over Strasbourg (2-1), on December 28.

Mbappé knows this: the World Cup is the “finding life” for his teammate, the only trophy missing from his massive list. Here also comes the other fear associated with the return of the Argentinian. At the age of 35, Messi has won it all. Will he be motivated to seek a fifth Champions League and offer PSG his first? Or, at least, go and pick up a second French champion title, the eleventh for Paris?

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The possible extension of his contract with the capital club, which ends in June 2023, could provide the first clue. Three days after the final whistle of the Qatari World Cup, The Parisian reported that an agreement in principle was reached at the beginning of December between the leaders of PSG and Jorge Messi, the father and agent of the striker, for at least one season. The case should be sealed when he returns from vacation, the daily said.

But, in the meantime, the Argentinian became the world champion. From there the situation changes? FC Barcelona has always entertained the idea of ​​a possible return of the prodigal son to his favorite club. Other rumors have lent him passions to discover Major League Soccer, the American championship, with Inter Miami, the formation of David Beckham. A kind of golden early retirement in other words.

The first big meeting for the capital club at the start of the year is the knockout stages of the Champions League against Bayern Munich, with the first leg scheduled for February 14 at the Parc des Princes. For this particular match, PSG will need a fully committed Messi.

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