Lionel Messi ‘disobeying’ PSG as exit claims and Sergio Ramos relationship come to light
Lionel Messi has endured a difficult start to his Paris Saint-Germain career, failing to score a single league goal in his first three months in the French capital
“The reception from the people of Paris has been amazing, I will try to live up to your expectations,” the Argentine said at the Parc des Princes.
But a quarter of a year since the deal that rocked the footballing world and so far, it has been somewhat of an anti-climax.
In eight games for the Parisians, Messi has found the net just three times, with none of those coming in Ligue 1.
Add to that a litany of injury issues and the transfer many deemed as ‘the best ever’ has been anything but.
This week, Messi risked incurring the wrath of his new employers by disobeying PSG’s request to snub a call-up by Argentina.
The forward had missed his club side’s last two games through injury but appeared in training for his national team ahead of two World Cup qualifiers.
“We do not agree to let a player go by selection who, for us, is not in physical condition or who is in the rehabilitation phase,” PSG sporting director Leonardo said.
“It is not logical, and these types of situations deserve a real agreement with FIFA.”
His decision to represent La Albiceleste comes hot on the heels of reports in Spain that already link him with a return to Barcelona.
Messi has repeatedly claimed that had the situation allowed it, he would have remained at the Camp Nou, with only financial obstacles forcing him out.
But following the appointment of close friend and former team-mate Xavi as manager, it is suggested a return is “no longer unthinkable”.
“His departure deserved to be through the front door,” former presidential candidate Victor Font explained. “From that moment on, the club should be thinking about how Messi could return to Barcelona in 2023.”
Messi’s contract in the French capital is only two years long and although PSG have the option to extend, linking back up with his old La Masia pal could be too tempting to turn down.
Along with indifferent form and fitness issues there have also been question marks about how Messi has settled into the ‘Galactico-style’ dressing room.
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The six-time Ballon d’Or winner wasn’t the only superstar to rock up at the club this summer, with the Qatari-owned club launching an ambitious attack to finally see their team crowned champions of Europe.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, Gini Wijnaldum, Danilo Pereira, Achraf Hakimi, Nuno Mendes and Sergio Ramos also arrived.
Ramos was unveiled to supporters alongside Messi, with the pair showing a united front after a decade of coming head-to-head in El Clasico battles.
But according to L’Equipe via Marca, the two have yet to develop a close relationship, suggesting their relationship is nothing above cordial.
“You can’t erase 10 years of Clasicos just like that,” a source told the French newspaper.
Fortunately for PSG all of Messi’s missteps haven’t stopped their procession to another Ligue 1 title, they currently find themselves 10 points clear at the top and look set to emphatically regain their crown as France’s top club.
But with the ultimate ambition of conquering Europe, Messi’s buy-in will be crucial. They will be hoping the next three months goes substantially better than the last.