'PSG are not a football club' - Lionel Messi whistles an 'insult to football', insists Emmanuel Petit
- Argentine has been in France since 2021
- Running down his contract this season
- Set to become a free agent in the summer
WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner continues to divide opinion among supporters at Parc des Princes, with some taking to jeering him whenever the starting XIs are announced prior to any given game. That stance has been taken as Messi is yet to sign a new contract in the French capital, meaning that he is heading towards free agency and a potential return to Barcelona this summer, while questions have been asked throughout a spell at PSG of how committed the Argentine icon is to the collective cause – especially now that he has savoured World Cup glory at Qatar 2022.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Former France international Petit is, however, of the opinion that the all-time great should be shown greater respect, with the 1998 World Cup winner telling RMC Sport of the terrace taunts Messi is being subjected to: “When I hear that, for me, it’s an insult to football.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Petit added on Messi’s time at PSG, which has failed to deliver Champions League glory and is now seeing him linked with summer moves to either Barcelona, MLS or the Middle East: “It’s not a football club. It’s a pre-retirement club, even for 20-year-old players. Nobody has improved while at PSG, is that Messi’s fault? He’s the magician with a wand, it’s up to the players around him to make an effort. Only the PSG fans don’t get that you need a squad built around Messi, which they don’t have, and won’t ever have, because [the management] are terrible in the market.”
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WHAT NEXT? While Messi has not been at his brilliant best across two seasons in Paris, he has still registered 29 goals and 32 assists through 67 appearances and is considered to be the strong favourite to land an eighth Ballon d’Or in 2023.