Lionel Messi hasn’t made the smoothest transition to life at Paris Saint-Germain.
Once the tears dried for football fans grieving the great man’s departure from Barcelona, all the questions about how Messi will adapt to a different league for the very first time began to rear their head.
Nevertheless, it was easy to see why so many of them were batted away when you consider Messi was fresh from winning a record seventh Ballon d’Or and inspiring Argentina to Copa America glory.
Messi’s low goalscoring tally
But alas, life in Ligue 1 certainly hasn’t been plain sailing with the top-line statistic on everybody’s lips being that Messi has actually only scored four league goals this season. Yup, four.
It’s a pretty head-spinning statistic when you consider that Messi’s season-on-season record in La Liga reads like so after the 2007/08 campaign: 23, 34, 31, 50, 46, 28, 43, 26, 37, 34, 36, 25 and 30.
Yes, Messi has still been creatively proficient with the second-most assists in the league, turning provider for 13 strikes, but there’s no denying that his goalscoring record has been eyebrow raising.
Messi chasing more goals
As such, fans of the Argentine superstar have kept their fingers crossed that he’ll be able to boost his tally in the closing weeks of the season now that PSG are confirmed as champions of France.
However, that simply hasn’t transpired with Messi now only two games away from rounding off a debut season at the Parc des Princes that will ultimately be considered as a disappointment.
And the 34-year-old’s most recent outing typified that exact theme of disappointment to such an extent that thousands of supporters were quipping that he might be cursed. Yes, you really did read that right.
“Manchester City sign Erling Haaland” (Football Terrace)
Is Messi cursed at PSG?
PSG limped over the line in their league clash with Troyes on Sunday night as they bottled a 2-0 lead – established by Marquinhos and Neymar strikes – when Ike Ugbo and Florian Tardieu found the net.
Some might consider that reason enough to pedal the ‘Messi is cursed’ narrative, but things get even more painful when you consider just how close the Barca came to finally bagging a fifth league goal.
That’s because all the tweets about a curse were perpetuated by the fact that Messi didn’t just hit the woodwork once, but twice in what is becoming an uncanny theme from his time with PSG.
First, Messi saw his chance to restore PSG’s two-goal lead in the first-half denied when his left-footed strike struck the post, leading to a Neymar finish that was quickly ruled out for offside.
Messi’s shot hits the post, again… pic.twitter.com/uUHxX6QZzJ— Ziad is back in pain (@Ziad_EJ) May 8, 2022
And then, 30 seconds into stoppage time, Messi came just inches away from saving the day for the Parisians when his sumptuous strike from outside the penalty area hit – you guessed it – the woodwork.
Even the commentators are wondering how cursed Messi has been, no player in Europe has hit the woodwork as much as him this season 😭 pic.twitter.com/6dtFPB47sH— mx (@MessiMX30iii) May 8, 2022
The statistics behind the ‘curse’
But it’s all just overreacting fans seeking some sort of excuse for Messi secretly being a Sunday League finisher who’s out of his depth in Ligue 1, right? Right?? Right??? Yeah, no.
In fact, there’s no superstition surrounding Messi’s recent love for hitting the post and crossbar with even the statistics going to show that it’s happened inordinately often during his PSG spell.
That’s because Opta themselves tweeted after the game: “10 – Lionel Messi has hit ten times the woodwork with Paris in Ligue 1 2021-22. Since Opta began to collect this data (2006-07), no other player has done it more in the same top-flight season. Curse.”
Maybe there is something to this, after all…