Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

At 34 years old, Lionel Messi has reinvented himself.

He is no longer the prolific speedy winger of his Barcelona glory days. The Argentine star has lost a bit of rhythm, but he makes up for it with his vision and technique to continue to have an impact on the game.

Messi helped Paris Saint-Germain to a 10th French league title on Saturday, opening the scoring in a 1-1 draw with Lens. This was Messi’s first trophy since he left Spain last summer.

He spent his entire career at Barcelona before joining PSG, winning 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

His best performances for PSG this season came when he played in the attacking midfield role. Messi has four goals and 13 assists in the French league. That’s a stark contrast to his last season at Barcelona, ​​where he had 30 goals and nine assists in La Liga.

It is the first time since the 2007-08 season that Messi has added more assists than goals.

His body shows wear after almost 20 seasons at the highest level.

Messi missed games against Metz and Montpellier in September due to a bruised bone in his left knee. He missed a game against Bordeaux in November due to knee and hamstring pain. A few days ago he missed the game against Angers due to an inflammation of the left Achilles tendon.

Added to this, it has been a strange season for Messi, who led Argentina to win the Copa América before signing with PSG. He wasn’t completely in uncharted territory. He had played with Neymar in Barcelona and with Ángel Di María and Leandro Paredes in the Argentine national team.

Messi needed time to adapt to a new league. On his PSG debut in August, he was widely applauded when he came off the bench in the second half against Reims. His first goal for PSG was in September in the Champions League against Manchester City, but he did not open his account in the French league until November.

Life in the French capital looked magnificent after Messi won a record seventh Ballon d’Or in November, mainly for his achievements with Barcelona and Argentina. PSG fans were happy to bask in the afterglow.

But after elimination from the Champions League in the round of 16 at the hands of Real Madrid last month, Messi and Neymar became the targets of disgruntled PSG supporters, who were disappointed the team had not fared better. with two of the most expensive footballers in the world. . PSG have never won the Champions League.

Messi has one more year on his contract, one more year to fulfill PSG’s dream.

There is no certainty that French striker Kylian Mbappé will stay with him, as his contract with PSG expires this summer. But the French league will still have Messi, who is a little slower, but much more cunning.

Read More: Slower, but craftier: How Lionel Messi has reinvented himself at 34