For the superclubs of the world, the early stages of the Champions League after often a formality.
Still, if that is indeed the upside to life in the competition for the monied elite, the downside is that the group games can be littered with knee-jerk reactions. Indeed, with this part of the competition not exactly known for its drama, drama must be created.
Following Paris Saint-Germain‘s opening day draw away at Club Brugge, Michael Owen has provided perhaps the mother of all hot takes.
“As much as we drool over them, this PSG team with those forwards, they’re all phenomenal players in their own right,” he said.
“But three together makes it weaker for me and I don’t really understand why they’re one of the favourites for it (the Champions League). I think the English teams (Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Man United) are far, far superior.”
Granted, there is some tactical concern about Mauricio Pochettino’s frontline, given the fact neither Messi, Neymar nor Kylian Mbappe are particularly renowned for their pressing from the front.
To suggest, however, that the Ligue 1 giants are better off without the 34-year-old is frankly wrong.
While there clearly needs to be some level of balance, Messi’s quality can never be doubted and, with the Argentinian national team, he appears to be enjoying an Indian summer as a leader.
The problem is not Messi, it’s the structure around him.