Messi looked like a man familiar with being let down in PSG loss
Lionel Messi was guilty of switching off as PSG ran riot, but how was he supposed to react when Barcelona were getting humiliated AGAIN? His look of disdain after Dembele’s miss painted a picture of a man too familiar with being let down by his team-mates
- Lionel Messi was accused of looking disinterested in the defeat against PSG
- Messi fashioned a brilliant chance for Ousmane Dembele but he spurned it
- He expected to lose against PSG but if Dembele scored it could’ve been different
- Messi seemed to switch off in the second half but how was he supposed to act?
It was a look we’d seen before – Lionel Messi glaring in disbelief at Ousmane Dembele on a big Champions League night.
On Tuesday night it was minute 28 when Messi, having just put Barcelona 1-0 up, pulled away from three PSG defenders in the area and teed-up Dembele for what should have been 2-0 on the night.
Dembele, who Barcelona signed instead of Kylian Mbappe after they sold Neymar to PSG in 2017, was unmarked a metre back from the penalty spot but his weak shot went straight into the arms of Keylor Navas – cue Messi’s look of disdain.
Lionel Messi is in the firing line for looking disinterested during PSG’s big win at the Nou Camp
Ousmane Dembele should have made it 2-0 after being teed up by Messi in the first half
Roll the clock back to May 2019 and to the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool. Barcelona had some how got themselves 3-0 in front despite struggling with Liverpool’s intensity and Messi had laid the fourth goal on a plate for Dembele in the last minute. Again his weak shot was straight at the keeper, this time Messi dropped to his knees in incredulous disappointment.
Joe Cole’s suggestion on BT Sport that Messi looked ‘disinterested’ and was not ’emotionally engaged’ as Barcelona were shredded by Mbappe doesn’t really tie up with that first half sequence of images.
Maybe in the second half as the third and fourth goals went in he switched off, but really how was he supposed to act as Barcelona were humiliated again?
Should Messi show more passion in moments of defeat?
It’s never been his style to vocalise his feelings on the pitch. Pitchside microphones picked up Pique shouting: ‘We need to wake up for f***’s sake. More intensity. Not a single f****** spell of possession.’
But that’s Pique. Messi has always been about goals and assists. On Tuesday night there was a goal and the assist would have followed if Dembele had not finished so poorly.
Gerard Pique was heard screaming at his team-mates but that’s never been in Messi’s makeup
He is about goals and assists and should’ve had both after netting a penalty in the first half
Does this fourth straight Champions League embarrassment make it more likely Messi leaves in the summer?
In many ways it changes nothing. These scorelines might still have the power to shock the wider football world but Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman was preparing everyone for this kind of night last month when he said: ‘We’re not really in the shape to do anything special.’
The club’s players and supporters know how bad things are and how shaken they can be by playing the top side from Europe’s other top leagues.
It’s true Barcelona’s domestic form has improved and eight straight wins have put them back on track in LaLiga. But roll in big guns from Europe and they still can do little more than roll over.
So Messi will have been expecting the worst when the first goal went in and resigned to the team’s fate when the floodgates opened in the second half. His future remains undecided and is as much in the hands of the clubs who could offer him an alternative to Barcelona.
Messi is all too used to being let down by his team-mates and European humiliation by now
PSG cannot afford Neymar, Mbappe AND Messi. Not without breaking rules. And does anyone believe they will sell Mbappe after Tuesday night’s performance?
He could still refuse to sign a new deal and leave for free in 2022 but to get him out this summer Real Madrid would have to pay well over £90million and it is money they simply do not have.
If Mbappe stays it is impossible for Messi to move to Paris.
PSG will not want to lose Kylian Mbappe but cannot possibly keep him and sign Messi
Messi to Manchester City?
Pep Guardiola would still be willing to offer his former player a way out of the Nou Nou. The most likely scenario this summer is that Messi weighs up leaving for Pep or staying for another old friend Joan Laporta, who is likely to win the March 7 presidential elections.
It would be a shame if his last Champions League game with Barcelona was the 4-1 defeat by PSG. Then again had he left in the summer his final match would have been the 8-2 loss to Bayern. It could have been worse.
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