Lionel Messi's PSG commitment questioned by Jerome Rothen: ‘As soon as he has a day off, he goes to Barcelona'

Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23
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Lionel Messi is facing more criticism from Jerome Rothen, as frequent visits to Barcelona have put his commitment to Paris Saint-Germain into doubt.
  • Argentine running down his deal in France
  • Questions asked of his contribution
  • Return to Camp Nou speculated on

WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived at Parc des Princes in the summer of 2021 amid much fanfare, but his relationship with a passionate fan base in France has soured. Messi has registered 18 goals and 17 assists this season, while savouring World Cup glory with Argentina. But he has not always performed at his best for Paris Saint-Germain and refused to sever ties with Barcelona, as speculation builds regarding a potential retracing of steps to Camp Nou as a free agent.

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WHAT THEY SAID: Former PSG star Rothen has told RMC Sport of Messi’s time in Ligue 1: “Leo Messi represents football, everything I love in football. He has marked the history of football, he is perhaps the greatest of all generations. But we are extremely disappointed with his contribution over his two seasons at PSG. I'm not even talking about his investment in the field, but just to defend the club in interviews, to show that he is happy to live in Paris, that he has found his feet. On the contrary, we have always seen negative things.

“As soon as he has a few days off, he goes to Barcelona. He has never got used to Paris, to what PSG represents. It is certainly a young club, but a club which has a history and it is also respected. You have to put yourself in the shoes of a Parisian player, he's never done it, so I blame him for that.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rothen added on the South American’s record in French football, with Neymar another marquee addition that has failed to live up to expectations: “We can't say that Leo Messi saved his season thanks to his stats, not at all. We expected him to be there in the great games, like Neymar. Let him move up the ranks at PSG, especially in the Champions League. And on that, we saw that the two had failed.”

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Lionel Messi PSG 2022

Lionel Messi Barcelona

WHAT NEXT? PSG suffered a Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, with more questions being asked of Messi’s future on the back of that defeat as he stalls on signing a new contract and is linked with clubs in Spain, MLS and the Middle East.