Paris Saint-Germain dropped points for the first time in 2022/23 last Sunday evening.
The French champions went into their fixture at home against AS Monaco on the back of three hugely convincing victories over Clermont Foot, Montpellier and Lille.
But Christophe Galtier’s side couldn’t make it four Ligue 1 wins on the bounce at the Parc Des Princes.
They were held to a 1-1 draw, Neymar‘s late goal from the penalty spot cancelling out Kevin Volland’s opener.
PSG were far from at their best on home soil. Yes, they dominated possession, but mustered only five shots on target throughout the match.
The superstar front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi failed to link up in the devastating manner they had in previous matches, which is why the latter of the three was actually subbed off in the 87th minute.
Messi was replaced by Pablo Sarabia with PSG chasing a second goal, a scenario that would’ve been unthinkable when the Argentine was in his absolute prime at Barcelona.
In the immediate aftermath of the game, a picture went viral on social media which appeared to show that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was not best pleased with the call made by Galtier.
Messi was subbed off in the 87th minute with PSG tied 1-1 vs. Monaco. pic.twitter.com/Wvb4AO5fCs— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 28, 2022
But it seems the image was taken out of context, because Messi’s reaction to being hauled off while the scores were level at 1-1 was that of a consummate professional.
The 35-year-old simply high-fived both Sarabia and Nordi Mukiele, gave Galtier a little handshake and then had a short conversation with someone after taking his place on the bench.
Video: How Messi really reacted to being taken off vs Monaco
Messi took the substitution in a calm way. No reaction, nothing serious.— Ziad is NOT in pain (@Ziad_EJ) August 29, 2022
It’s the media who creates stories. pic.twitter.com/shjNLwQAR4
This was Messi’s reaction while speaking to someone, but the media with screenshots made it appear as if he was confused about the substitution pic.twitter.com/IAHoLyQr60— Ziad is NOT in pain (@Ziad_EJ) August 29, 2022
Deep down Messi was probably a little fuming that Galtier opted to replace him with just minutes remaining, but he certainly didn’t show it.
It was a shock to see him hauled off, though, as the diminutive genius was one of PSG’s better players on the night.
Messi also should have been presented with an easy goalscoring opportunity just before the half-time interval, but Mbappe decided to intervene and prevent Nuno Mendes’ cutback from arriving at his feet inside the box.
Video: Messi robbed of scoring chance by Mbappe
This pass from Nuno Mendes would have been perfect for Messi, but Mbappe intervened. He could have even made a dummy pic.twitter.com/Op7j4Wdzz0— Jan (@FutbolJan10) August 28, 2022
Mbappe clearly needs to watch footage of Jordi Alba’s plethora of assists for Messi at Barcelona…
Galtier will be hoping his front three are firing on all cylinders again on Wednesday evening, when PSG make the trip to play Toulouse.