There’s no doubt that the biggest story over the summer in the world of soccer was Lionel Messi’s heartbreaking departure from Barcelona, the club he’s been at for the last 21 years.
In this instance, Barcelona’s loss is PSG’s gain. The French club wasted no time agreeing to a deal with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner. With Messi now in their ranks, they could become an unstoppable force domestically and in Europe.
With Messi on their side, there’s a very real possibility that PSG, who have never won the Champions League, will be able to turn the tables. They finished runners-up in 2020 after losing to Bayern Munich in the final and it’s clear that the current owners have invested a lot of money into the club, with the aim of achieving this feat.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are now the best bet on football outright markets for the Champions League crown this season. They’re the favorites with odds of 11/4, closely followed by Manchester City with odds of 7/2 and Bayern Munich with 7/1. Their new signing has lifted the trophy on four occasions, and he’s desperate to get his hands on the cup once again.
Messi has often been a match-winner for Barcelona in the Champions League and PSG will undoubtedly be hoping that he can be the difference-maker, particularly at the business end of the competition.
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The Argentinian, who this summer won his first major international tournament with his country when they prevailed in Copa America, is another in a series of additions to an exciting attack at PSG. He will line up alongside his former Barca teammate Neymar and one of the stars of European football, Kylian Mbappe.
Messi and Neymar know each other well. They had a lot of successes together in Barcelona: in 2015 their team won the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup. This powerhouse reunion could very well see something similar achieved in Paris.
The experience Messi will bring could also help Mbappe develop in that the pressure will be off his shoulders somewhat, and he will consequently get the chance to learn from one of the greatest players of all time every day in training.
No Signs of Messi Declining
PSG will be fully aware that the signing of Messi is not a long-term strategy. They have done this deal in the hopes of being successful over the next two to three years.
Despite being 34 years old now, Messi has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down. He scored 38 goals in all competitions last season and, during the summer, he was named the player of the tournament at Copa America following his four goals for Argentina.
PSG will be hoping he remains at the top of his game in the way his rival Cristiano Ronaldo has at Juventus. Like Ronaldo, Messi has been fortunate not to have had any serious injuries over the last few years.
Pochettino is likely to rotate his squad around Champions League matches so Messi can be rested in some Ligue 1 matches. This arrangement is in stark contrast to that which was the case at Barcelona, where Messie was relied on so heavily in the latter stages of his spell there. PSG are tactical here as they know they have others who can share the load.
PSG have already achieved what many believed to be impossible in their signing of Messi. It’s going to be exciting to see how this next chapter in his career
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