Paris Saint-Germain signed Lionel Messi last summer to boost their chances of ending their long wait for their first Champions League title.
However, the Parisians failed to even reach this season’s quarter-finals following Wednesday night’s capitulation against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Despite boasting the most fearsome front three in world football (Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe), PSG were unable to defeat Madrid over two legs.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were firmly on course to win the tie after going 2-0 up on aggregate thanks to Mbappe’s excellent goal shortly before half-time.
But it was the hosts who prevailed after Karim Benzema netted an extraordinary 17-minute hat-trick in the second half, capitalising on some woeful PSG defending in the process.
The result is likely to have ramifications for those at PSG.
There’s already talk that Pochettino could lose his job, while Mbappe is surely now another big step closer to completing a free transfer to the Bernabeu this summer.
What now for Lionel Messi?
But what about Messi?
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who turns 35 in June, has rarely looked himself since leaving Barcelona last summer.
In 17 Ligue 1 appearances, Messi has scored just two goals. That’s an astonishing statistic for the player who netted 676 goals in 778 appearances for Barça.
The legendary Argentine forward openly admitted last summer that he wanted to stay at Barcelona, where his family were settled, and it wouldn’t be a complete shock if he wanted to return to Camp Nou at the earliest available opportunity.
Messi was the main man at Barça; everything went through him.
But as we saw on Wednesday night, that isn’t the case at PSG.
The moment Verratti angered Messi
During first-half stoppage-time, Messi couldn’t contain his anger at Marco Verratti after the Italian midfielder failed to cut the ball back to him.
Messi used to score like 20 goals a season from this run alone, now he has to scream at Verratti for not playing the pass. pic.twitter.com/ffXM2Ycgym— John Muller (@johnspacemuller) March 9, 2022
How many times have we seen Messi score goals from this type of scenario over the years?
Yet Verratti decided to chip the ball to the back post instead and the move broke down.
Watch the footage here:
🎥 Messi getting angry at Veratti, after not passing to him pic.twitter.com/jZzucou0Su— Barca Eleven (@BarcaEleven_) March 9, 2022
Messi’s infuriated reaction said it all. He wanted the pass and knew he could have scored a potentially crucial goal for his team.
Had Verratti played him in, there’s every chance the outcome on Wednesday night would have been very different.