Lionel Messi: PSG star slammed by Rafael van der Vaart in scathing analysis

Rafael van der Vaart has criticised PSG's Lionel Messi

The 2021/22 season has been a bit of a struggle for Lionel Messi thus far.

Injuries haven't helped his start to life at Paris Saint-Germain, but there's no getting away from the fact that he looks a pale shadow of the player we saw dominate the game for over a decade at Barcelona.

Messi has only four goals across all competitions this season, which is unthinkable for a player like him in November.

And as well as struggling to find the back of the net, the 34-year-old has been criticised on numerous occasions for looking disinterested out on the pitch in a PSG shirt.

The Argentine's performance vs Manchester City on Wednesday hasn't exactly helped matters in that regard either.

Messi's lack of defensive effort at the Etihad has been highlighted by various pundits and it's certainly something that should concern PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Messi in action

Some of the worst criticism aimed at the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has come from former Real Madrid midfielder, Rafael van der Vaart.

As Harry Maguire will know all too well, the Dutchman isn't exactly one to hold back when on punditry duty and he certainly didn't in his assessment of the current version of Messi.

Van der Vaart's criticism of Messi

Messi vs City

"It makes me sad," Van der Vaart said on Dutch TV channel Ziggo Sports, per Marca. "It's a question of desire. Does he [Messi] want it or not?

"When you compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo, one is fighting to take his team to the next level - and one isn't.

"Messi walks now and then. I look at him and think, 'Aren't you ashamed?'

Man City 2-1 PSG Reaction | Football Terrace

"I'm just getting annoyed with Messi. It already started a bit with Ronald Koeman [at Barcelona]. It was actually a refusal to work, that is not normal for such a player.

"And that's a shame, because a player like this will never be born again."

Wow...

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You rarely see anyone speak in such a manner about a footballer many believe to be the greatest the sport has ever seen.

But that's where we are right now and the onus is on Messi to silence his growing contingent of critics as soon as possible.

Given what he's achieved up until this point, you have to think that he will have made them all look foolish by the end of the season at the latest.

Quiz: The ultimate 2021/22 Champions League quiz - a question on each club

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In 2011, Man City played which club in their first ever CL game?

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