“We’re seeing the best player in the world again”… Lionel Messi on the momentum of the World Cup for his big comeback
From our special correspondent at the Parc des Princes,
It was past midnight, near the Parc des Princes, and a handful of fans were still waiting outside the players’ car park, hoping for a small signal as the man of the night passed. All the vehicles that came out had tinted windows, but it wasn’t a big deal, the fans chanted “Messiii, Messiiii” every time. Indeed, there is one person who will drive the Argentinian home.
The world champion was clearly the highlight of the evening, and we can thank him because without him these PSG-Angers would have had less of a game on a frosty Wednesday night in January that would have turned into a purge. If the encounter in general was boring enough, the fault of the Parisian perhaps being a bit too cool to take off his sandals before hitting the pitch, Lionel Messi is set for a reunion, nearly three weeks later on the long-awaited world title.
The club have decided not to organize a special ceremony before kick-off, believing, according to our colleagues from Le Parisien, that the guard of honor and small trophy presented on his return to training will be enough to mark the occasion. It was also whispered that we were a little scared of Park’s reception, devoted more to Kylian Mbappé than to the Argentinian – who never made the superhuman effort to put him in his pocket – and perhaps still annoyed by Emiliano Martinez’s stupidity. celebration. But the public has proven that it knows how to understand things. We don’t respect legends, everyone knows that.
Messi’s name stuck out when the Paris squad was first announced, an hour before kick-off, when the stadium was still three-quarters empty. Even more so when the announcer repeated it at around 8:50 p.m., even if we heard some whistling behind the clapping. “Thanks to the supporters, and congratulations to them for welcoming him like this. Trust me, it warms her heart,” said Christophe Galtier after the meeting. We want to believe it, even if the person concerned can express it himself, for example by going to greet the public with his little friends at the final whistle instead of going straight to the locker room. The only downside of the night.
“He is calm”
But what matters to the Parisian coach is the pitch, and from this point of view, he admires his number 30 performance. It’s hard to do otherwise, because the latter is the only thing that makes the encounter so depressing. From the 5th minute it was he, after a fine ball, who unseated Mukiele whose cross allowed Ekitike to open the scoring. 20 minutes from the end, he handled it all, from a double on the outside to start the action to an unstoppable right-footed tiny shot to finish and bend the match. Between these two highlights, the Argentinian will offer some sweet treats, such as his one-touch aerial pass in the first half to dislodge Mukiele, who this time didn’t know how to capitalize. Not to mention his super glue temperature control which made the rounds on Twitter.
For those who thought the Argentinian would return to the back after winning the last title of his career, that was a mistake. He’s been rather active, involved, inspired, even though his legs are a bit heavy after this lively break. “We’ve seen, of course, the best players in the world right now,” said Galtier. He really wanted to play, he recovered well, he prepared well. Obviously, when Leo is on the pitch, things change, very big. He looked calm, light, having won a trophy he missed. But he also really wanted to reconnect immediately with the game, with the competition, and he had a great game. »
Reunion with Mbappé this Thursday
Same feeling on the side of Nordi Mukiele, the lone Parisian who stopped to chat with us briefly in the mixed zone. Overjoyed to have provided the decisive pass to his illustrious teammate, the right flank also noted the feeling of fullness radiating from him. “I feel good, happy to be here. That was before the World Cup, and there’s more. Having Leo happy is very good for the team, because he will help us in the second half of the season. »
There is a lot to be done, though, between championships where Lens and OM will be wary of the slightest misstep, and especially the Champions League. The round of 16 first leg against Bayern Munich is going to happen very quickly, and to see Messi already at this level is definitely good news. The Argentinian, who scored 27 goals in 20 games for PSG (13 feats, 14 assists), by his Barcelona standards over a season. But for him like others, the counter will reset in February. At that time, Messi will have another reunion, certainly a bit special, with Kylian Mbappé. After a ten day holiday, France returned to training on Wednesday at Camp des Loges.