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L. Messi

Messi told he 'completely wasted' debut season at PSG & doesn't deserve World Cup ovation from fans

13:21 GMT+3 04/01/2023
Leo Messi PSG 2022-23
World Cup winner Lionel Messi "wasted" his debut season at Paris Saint-Germain and doesn't deserve a big reception from fans, says Jerome Rothen.
  • Messi slammed by ex-PSG man
  • Told he doesn't deserve World Cup ovation
  • Argentine has returned to Paris

WHAT HAPPENED? Ahead of returning to the French capital as a World Cup winner with Argentina, Messi has been criticised by former PSG star Rothen in a rather scathing interview. The Frenchman doesn't believe the 35-year-old is owed a grand ovation by supporters because of his exploits in Qatar, having failed to produce his best level for PSG in the 2021-22 season.

WHAT HE SAID: Speaking to RMC Sport, Rothen delivered a cutting verdict: "He has been at PSG for a year and a half and the first year was completely wasted. I don't mind there being a time to adapt, but Leo Messi is the best player in the game planet. For these players, the adaptation is supposed to be shorter. For me, his attitude for a year was too far, like Neymar and that's why there was a lot of criticism on them."

He added on the boos Messi received after PSG's early Champions League exit last season: "Yes, they (the fans) went too far last year, some insulted him. But that was because they were like me: we were crazy to see Messi in Ligue 1 and we were extremely disappointed. And there, you are going to ask them, with the World Cup, to give him an ovation? And there, he is going to seek comfort? No, no, no."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi endured a slow start to life after joining PSG following his exit from Barcelona in the summer of 2021 and could only manage a modest total of 11 goals and 15 assists in all competitions. He's improved significantly this season, though, and carried that form into Qatar to help Argentina to their third World Cup, seeing off team-mate Kylian Mbappe in the final.

After a rocky start, GOAL understands that Messi will now sign a new deal with PSG instead of considering a potential switch to MLS at the end of the season.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? Galtier was tight-lipped on specifically when Messi could return to action for PSG, but now he's back at the club, it won't be too long before he's thrust back into the XI.