‘Any team would give anything to have Lionel Messi for five minutes!’ - Javier Mascherano warns PSG fans they will live to regret criticism
- Argentine icon running down contract
- Set to hit free agency this summer
- Leaving France after two seasons
WHAT HAPPENED? A parting of ways between ambitious club and superstar forward appears to be inevitable this summer, with seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi running his contract at Parc des Princes down towards free agency. He will depart – amid links to Barcelona, MLS and teams in the Middle East – after two seasons in France that have delivered 31 goals and 34 assists, but plenty of questions regarding his commitment to the collective cause. Disgruntled Paris Saint-Germain supporters have taken to criticising the iconic Argentine on a regular basis, with Mascherano baffled as to why his fellow countryman has received such treatment.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Mascherano, a former international team-mate of Messi, has told Ole: “It's a pity for not realising they were lucky to have him on their team. I think that 10 years ago, no Paris fan imagined that they could possibly have the best player in history on their team. And instead of enjoying it, they spent these two years criticizing him.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Former Liverpool and Barcelona star Mascherano, who is now coach of the Argentina U20 team, added: “In 10 years they will regret it. Any team in the world would give anything to have him for five minutes. Neither party deserved this ending. If there is something that cannot be criticised [about Messi] it's his professionalism: it's hard to find someone with his professionalism even though he's possibly the best player in history. It's impossible to criticise him. Let him go where he's happy and with his family. If it's here, great: see him every weekend it would be a great goal. Otherwise we will continue watching him on TV as we have been doing for almost 20 years.”
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WHAT NEXT? Messi, who has been suspended by PSG for two weeks after making an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, is currently in the process of mulling over his options as he prepares to bid farewell to Paris.