Lionel Messi’s debut season at Paris Saint-Germain was very much a mixed bag.
While it’s true that he ended the 2021-21 campaign with a Ligue 1 winners’ medal, that doesn’t tell the full story of what was a largely frustrating and difficult season for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Messi, who openly admitted that he didn’t want to leave Barcelona, only managed to score 11 goals in 34 games for PSG last term – a surprising and disappointing return by his exceptionally high standards.
Everyone expected Messi to score goals for fun in Ligue 1, just as he did for a decade and a half in La Liga, but the 34-year-old ended his first season in France with just six league goals to his name.
The legendary Argentine forward and his teammate Neymar were subsequently booed by PSG’s fans in the club’s next game against Bordeaux.
Earlier in the campaign, PSG registered an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League group stages, with Messi netted a superb first goal for the Parisians.
When Messi laid behind PSG wall for free-kick
As PSG were closing out the game, fans were shocked to see Messi – arguably the greatest footballer in history – laying behind the wall while defending a free-kick.
This is quite a common sight in football these days, but Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand couldn’t believe that Messi was asked to carry out that particular duty.
“The moment [Mauricio] Pochettino asked him to do that on the training ground, someone should have gone in there and said ‘no, no, no, no, no’. It just doesn’t happen to Leo Messi. It’s disrespectful, I wouldn’t have it,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport after the match.
“If I was in that team, I’d say: ‘listen: I’ll lay down for you’.
“Sorry, I couldn’t have him laying down like that. He doesn’t get his kit dirty! That’s not what Messi does.”
Watch the clip here:
Peter Crouch added on Twitter: “This wouldn’t have happened at Barca #freemessifromdraughtexcluding”.
Whether we’ll see Messi laying behind the wall again during next season’s Champions League campaign remains to be seen.
Pochettino is expected to replaced as PSG’s manager within the coming days, with Nice boss Christophe Galtier tipped to replace the Argentine at the Parc des Princes.
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