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Messi, free kicks, Mbappé, Handball

Seen and read about PSG in the French press this Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The results of Leo Messi’s first season with the Rouge & Bleu, the Argentinian new ambassador for Saudi tourism, Messi and Neymar ineffective on free kick, the transfer window for the attackers has already started and the PSG Handball match against Kiel in the Champions League.

In today’s edition, The Parisian reviews the first season of Lionel Messi to PSG. And the 34-year-old striker disappointed on a sporting level. There are two matches left (Montpellier and Metz) for the Argentinian to hope to improve his statistics. But the former Barcelonan surely did not expect such a complicated season. Indeed, it is always amazing to see The Pulga with a starving figure of 4 goals in League 1 (63rd rank of scorers in L1). ” And for good reason. Last August, when he landed in Paris, the Pulga came out for the 13th consecutive year of a season with more than 31 goals. » If his stats are better in Champions League (5 goals in the group stage), he was not decisive in the knockout stage against real Madrid. Added to this is a difficulty in acclimatizing to a new club, a new city and a new environment, as the player had already mentioned in an interview with the Spanish media.

Additionally, the tactic of Mauricio Pochettino didn’t help him show his best face. At first, the Argentinian coach had decided to position his compatriot in an astonishing role of right winger in his 4-3-3. “But the Argentinian was nevertheless able to take advantage of his coach’s choice by realizing that if he did not want to remain the Mister Fox of the surfaces, it was better to turn into Doctor Caviar. » Indeed, with 13 assists in the league, Lionel Messi sits just behind Kylian Mbappe (15) in the ranking of the best passers. Another surprising statistic around the 34-year-old striker is his number of posts hit in L1 (10). “Once he has set his sights, (re)found his feet and hopefully his legs for the World Cup in Qatar, he will be able to post a less disappointing record. »

If the results of his sporting season are disappointing, Leo Messi succeeded in meeting the objectives at the marketing level, in particular on the sale of jerseys. ” Thanks to Messi, Paris even offers a record season, the club having during the first six months, equaled its merchandising income from last season. » The Argentinian international represents 60% of the jerseys sold. Added to this is the increase in companies interested in a partnership with the PSG and the explosion of the number of subscribers on social networks (20 million fans when he signed and 1 million additional subscribers each week).

While some players PSG were in Spain (Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr) during the few days of rest granted by the club, Leo Messi took the opportunity to go to Saudi Arabia in the company of Leandro Paredes. An important trip for the Argentinian because he has officially become the Saudi tourism ambassador. A partnership that could surprise at first sight because of the conflicting relations between the Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But David Rigoulet-Rozea researcher at IRIS (Institute of International and Strategic Relations), nuanced the problems between the two Gulf countries. “Nor should we overestimate the conflicting dimension with the Qatar. Firstly because there is a reconciliation, of course, on the face of it, but which still exists since at the beginning of January 2021 when Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had been invited to Al-Ula on the Red Sea by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman. This had formalized a rapprochement in the absence of a real reconciliation. There is therefore a form of normalization with the reintegration of the Qatar within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). »

On his side, The Team highlights the failure of PSG on a free kick despite two expert players in this area: Neymar Jr and Leo Messi. The two Parisians have not scored a single free kick this season. An even more surprising finding for The Pulga. “Since Opta began collecting this data for the five major Championships during the 2006-2007 season, the sevenfold Ballon d’Or France Football converted 39 direct free kicks from 436 attempts. This means that the native of Rosario scores almost one in ten direct free kicks. » But this season, the Argentinian displays a 0 out of 18, despite a few posts hit on his attempts. Since 2010-2011, the 34-year-old striker has always scored at least one goal from a direct free kick, for club or selection. “The 2015-2016 season is its peak, with 9 achievements. »

On his side, Neymar Jr is also skilful in this exercise. Number 10 of PSG attach “8% success, with 7 direct free kicks converted in 89 tries. » But the 30-year-old striker hasn’t scored one since 2020. Former specialist, Alain Giressetries to explain this lack of success of the Brazilian. Neymar do not doubt, he displays a detachment. On the other hand, his regular absences and his ankle injuries may be the reason for his difficulties. He had a gesture, before, on a free kick. »

The sports daily also mentions the partnership of Leo Messi with the tourist embassy in Saudi Arabia and specifies that the PSG “knew of the existence of this partnership. » Indeed, this deal between the Argentine and the Gulf country existed even before it was signed in PSG last summer. All that remained was to finalize a date, which finally took place at the start of the week at a calmer moment in the Rouge & Bleu season.

There is also talk of the transfer window in the sports daily. With the transfer ofErling Haaland to Manchester City, European clubs are already working to strengthen their attack. And unsurprisingly, Kylian Mbappe will be one of the attractions of this transfer period. At the end of the contract with the PSGthe 23-year-old Frenchman “continues to fuel speculation between an extension and a free start. » His trip to Madrid at the beginning of the week further reinforced speculation, especially “that a third club (liverpool ?) would also have entered the dance. » Other player with a high rating for several weeks: Darwin Nunez. Under contract contract with Benfica until 2025, the 22-year-old Uruguayan striker arouses envy. Newcastle, Manchester United Where chelsea are in the running for €70 million. the PSG also follows him, as Ousmane Dembeleat the end of the contract with the Barca, but who would like to extend in Catalonia. »

The Team also got an interview from UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferinwhere it is particularly a question of PSGof Nasser al-Khelaifi and financial fair play. Excerpts that have been shared here on our site.

Finally, the PSG Handball will play their quarter-final first leg from Champions League this Wednesday against Kiel to Coubertin Stadium. After winning their 8th French championship title in a row last weekend, the Rouge & Bleu also hope to have a good run in C1. “Soon ten years after the arrival of the Qatari shareholder, the PSG Handball waiting again and again for this triumph in Champions League who haunts his nights like those of the footballers of the red and blue house. » In the event of failure, the Parisians will be able to try their luck again next season but will have to do without Mikkel Hansen, Vincent Gerard, Benoit Kounkoud and Nedim Remili, who will leave at the end of this season. Moreover, “a certain vagueness hovers over the medium-term future, with no player being under contract beyond 2024 while the coach Raúl González is only committed until 2023.” But to hope to reach the Final Four of I’EHF Champions League and offer a great course to future-ex Parisians, players of the PSG Handball will have to achieve a great feat against one of the favorites of the competition.

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