Messi’s first season at PSG, just two games from completion, has not been, far from it, what was expected due to expectations generated in the summer. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has struggled to adapt to the ever-physical French football and is going to end the season with figures that, while not horrible, are far from what he has been accustomed to at Barcelona for so many years.
As indicated by Le Parisien, Rosario had 13 consecutive seasons reaching at least 31 goals in all competitions, while in Paris he has barely been able to add 9 goals and 13 assists to date. Overtaken by the physique of Ligue 1 and by the speed at which the championship is played, Messi has had to adapt to his physique and has gone from being a total player to a footballer who prefers to play near midfield as a playmaker and try to assist your peers. The definitive explosion of Mbappé, establishing himself as the great leader of the team, has relieved him to the background and he has not had the obligation, like so many years in Barcelona, to assume the reins of the team.
Although in the Champions League until the round of 16 the figures were good (five goals in the group stage), Messi could not avoid PSG’s collapse in the Champions League against Real Madrid. ANDn the first leg, the former Barcelona player missed a penalty that could have changed the tie completely. At the Bernabéu, he caught the nerves of his team and ended up getting out of a competition that he wanted to win after not having been able to conquer it for the last six years in Barcelona.
In Ligue 1, Messi has four goals, an anomalous figure for him, since he is ranked 63rd in the scoring charts. Although he has provided 13 assists, being second in the standings behind Mbappé, the reality is that at no time has he managed to explode in Paris. However, it is early to speak of decline. Those ten clubs that he has had in France, a record since Opta analyzes the statistics, show that he has not lost quality, but that perhaps he has lacked time and adaptation to a championship accustomed to fast, physical players and much faster legs that the league
Although sportingly speaking one can speak of irregularity, Messi has been an extraordinary boost for PSG in terms of economy. The Argentine represents 60% of the Parisian team’s shirt sales and, in addition, the increase in sponsorships has been unstoppable. This economic return has compensated for the sporting performance, in which PSG still cannot come close to winning the Champions League.
Fouls, another conditioning factor
For a long time, Leo Messi has been uncovered as a specialist in set pieces. Since 2007, Rosario has scored 39 goals out of 436 attempts, that is, he scores one out of every ten fouls he throws. In his first year at PSG, the Argentine star scored 0 goals out of 18 attempts, the current season being the worst of his career in that facet. Neymar, for example, has also failed to score in eight attempts, causing a problem in Paris due to the lack of goals from free-kicks.
Since 2006, Messi is, by far, the player who has scored the most fouls with 39, beating Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 31, by eight goals, as L’Équipe underlines. However, the
lack of effectiveness this season can be explained by the difficulties he has had to adapt to Ligue 1 and the lack of time to mimic Mauricio Pochettino’s scheme. Statistics that will surely improve next season, because if Mbappé ends up at Real Madrid, PSG’s leadership will be subject to both him and Neymar.