CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Benfica – PSG – Yes, the real Messi is in Paris

He’s not the one we’ve talked about the most at PSG since the start of the season. And that is explained. The tremendous performances of a Neymar returning to his best level, as evidenced by his 11 wins from 12 games, drew attention to the Brazilian. And since Kylian Mbappé hasn’t let up (11 goals in 10 games) despite the various stories that have muddled his day-to-day life, Lionel Messi has been the one who has been the least put forward on offense in the early months of this new season. And yet there is something to be said about his case. What to smoke him especially.

Since the start of this season, PSG have finally benefited from a Messi who is increasingly resembling the one who was in Barça’s heyday. If Paris had seen in part the immense talent of the sevenfold Ballon d’Or during his first practice session on the banks of the Seine, it was no offense to say that the Pulga had failed to live up to expectations of his first Parisian opus. And if some even dared to question if he wasn’t clearly on the decline after his meager record in 2021-22 given his previous standards (11 goals and 14 assists in 34 games) at 35, the former Barcelona cares about putting the dots on the I’s.

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Europe’s most dangerous player

This is no resurrection for native Rosario. But it still looks very much like it. While he panics on the counterattack less than once in front of goal despite resuming his goalscoring role in recent games, the former Barcelona native is quite simply the most dangerous player in the five biggest championships of Catalan daily sport, according to Opta. Between shots and chances created, the Argentine dominates this ranking by being the source of 63 “opportunities” in L1.

Already the author of seven wins and eight assists in 12 games this season, Lionel Messi finds a smile. The reasons for this “rebirth” are manifold. He’s been there for a year. And having seen him leave his old club where he trained before launching his career and becoming a football legend, it was not unreasonable that the ‘Chip’ needed a little time to adjust to his new surroundings. Even if we are one of the biggest players in history, such a change is not trivial. But today Messi left his mark, off the field with his family and on the lawns with the PSG tunic on his back. And it feels.

When Leo smiles, the team smiles too

Better in his crampons in Paris, more fulfilled and inevitably motivated by the 2022 World Cup – which may well be his last chance to pin that trophy to his list – Lionel Messi has also been able to enjoy a restful summer and a preparation worthy of the name to this new one attack campaign. And there too, when he becomes more explosive on the pitch, he shows himself as a permanent threat to opposing defence. Paris takes full advantage of this. But whether the former Catalan shines for all of these reasons is also a tactical question.

Christophe Galtier’s schedule suits him perfectly. Placed more in line than last season with Mauricio Pochettino, the Parisian no. 30 is feeling more comfortable. Closer to the two attackers and well supported by the profile of the two midfielders behind him, the Argentine transforms into a luxury servant to make the game smoother while having the freedom to switch to the right if he wants, feels the need or gets closer to the heart of the debates.

In this 3-5-2 chosen by the former Lille and Saint-Etienne technician, the work of the flankers also makes it possible to shut out the game to give Messi more space to express himself. However, if we give a player with that talent a few inches, they’ll take care of the rest to get their technique talking, their understanding of the game or their dribbling skills…”He has a very sharp, very clear tactical sense. He quickly sees where to stand and how to position himself to play with each other. He’s in an area he loves and when Leo smiles, so does the team“, Christophe Galtier summed up in August, a realization that has not been denied since.

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