PSG’s tour of Japan, marked on Wednesday by a first friendly match against Kawasaki Frontale in Tokyo (12:30 p.m.), should allow us to review the “real” Messi, that of Barcelona, not that of his first year in Paris.
As he enters the second and final year of his contract with the capital club (which also includes an optional additional year), the Argentinian knows that time is running out for him to leave a trace of his stay in Paris.
With 11 goals and 14 assists in 34 gamesall competitions combined, the results are meager for the sevenfold Ballon d’Or and the striking contrast between the expectation aroused by his triumphant arrival in the summer of 2021 and his performance on the ground.
At 35, Is Messi finished? It is to this question that the superstar must answer during an exercise where important deadlines will not be lacking.
Unlike Neymar, whose lifestyle annoys even his leaders, the Argentinian was able to benefit from a certain indulgence due to his hasty departure from his cocoon catalan, where he spent his entire life as a footballer before arriving in Paris, somewhat reluctantly.
This is also one of the missions of the new coach Christophe Galtier than imagining the right compromise to place its Argentinian star in the best possible position alongside the two other Parisian stars, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. A task that his Argentinian predecessor Mauricio Pochettino failed to accomplish.
After a disputed half-time against Quevilly-Rouen (L2) on the occasion of the first pre-season friendly match won 2-0 by PSG on Friday, Messi should find his two friends on Wednesday in Tokyo. According to the tactical set-up carried out on Monday, the Argentinian could evolve in support of the Mbappé-Neymar duo.
Galtierhe does not doubt the resurrection of the native of Rosario.
“It’s a new life here for him, a new family life, a new life as a player. You have to have a lot of respect for someone who says, at 34: + I want to live something different +. Everyone doesn’t is not able to do it. Obviously, there is a time of adaptation. From what I can see for ten days, he is a fully invested player. The rest, the whole planet knows what he is capable of doing,” he said in an interview with L’Equipe on Saturday.
The performances of “La Pulga” with argentina contradict in any case the thesis of a player on the decline.
A year after winning his first major title with the Albiceleste at the Copa América, Messi was sparkling during the “Finalissima”, a gala match won against the Italian European champions (3-0) with two assists. Four days later, he signed a quintupled in a friendly match against Estonia (5-0).
Enough to increase his motivation for the World Cup (November 21-December 18), his probable last big meeting with his selection. A boon also for PSG, who can count on a Messi involved and anxious to prepare as best as possible to get the only trophy missing from his huge list.