Lionel Messi scored his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night during a 2-0 victory over Manchester City within the Champions League. The Argentine star curled home a sublime left-footed effort from the sting of the box up the 74th minute to offer the French giants a two-goal advantage. Midfielder Idrissa Gueye had given PSG an early lead, just for Manchester City coming on the brink of equalizing as Raheem Sterling and Bernado Silva both hit the bar briefly succession.
But Messi’s goal — coming in his fourth appearance since leaving Barcelona — bound up the group stage victory in Paris.
After the sport, Manchester mayor Pep Guardiola — who coached Messi during their time together at Barcelona where they won two Champions League titles — praised the PSG star, calling the 34-year-old “unstoppable.” We addressed PSG first of all, but we all know it’s impossible to regulate Leo for 90 minutes,” Guardiola said. “He wasn’t much in-tuned with the ball — in fact, he was returning from injury, he needed a touch of rhythm — but we all know quite well when he can run and obtain on the brink of the ball, he’s unstoppable.
“What we’ve done is minimize, the maximum amount as possible, these quite options and make the probabilities that we could create and I am satisfied with the way we played. “People can’t deny that we were there. We arrived here, we did our game, but it is often a risk once you lose the ball and that they can make one pass, especially with (Marco) Verratti — an exceptional, extraordinary player — and make contact with Neymar and Messi and that they can run, it’s difficult.” After he scored his goal and as PSG attempted to carry on for the victory, Messi did his part for the team, laying down behind a defensive wall at a freekick to stop an attempt being taken underneath it and surprising goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
However, former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand believed a player of Messi’s caliber shouldn’t are made to perform such a requirement. “The moment Mauricio Pochettino asked him to try to do that at the training ground, someone should’ve gone in there and said: ‘No, no, no, no, no, no.’ this does not happen to Leo Messi,” Ferdinand, a Champions League winner with Manchester United in 2008, said on BT Sport. “No, no, no, no. You can’t. It’s disrespectful, I would not have it. If I used to be therein team, I’d need to say: ‘Listen, I’ll lay down for you.’ Sorry, I could not have him laying down like that. I can not see it. He isn’t getting his kit dirty, that’s not what Messi does.” Messi signed a two-year deal at PSG in August, ending his two-decade spell at Barça.
During his first three games for the club, which were blighted by a scarcity of preseason training and injury, Messi hardly set the planet alight, failing to record a goal or an assist. On his home debut for PSG, seemingly to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s chagrin, he was substituted by manager Mauricio Pochettino within the last half as his side went in search of a winning goal against Lyon. Pochettino and Messi didn’t greet and therefore the pair had a quick exchange as Messi made his thanks to the bench.
PSG went on to win the Ligue 1 clash because of a Mauro Icardi header in stoppage time and Pochettino defended his decision to exchange Messi. However, at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday against Manchester City, Argentina superstar looked somewhat back to his dominant best, learning his typical trademark pockets of space and mixing well with Kylian Mbappé and Neymar.
And just over a quarter-hour from the top of the match, with the result still hanging within the balance, the Parisian crowd got what they wanted as Messi used his trademark left foot to attain past a rooted-to-the-spot Ederson. The goal — his 121st within the Champions League — was his 27th in 35 appearances against English teams within the Champions League; 15 quite the other player within the competition.
He also became just the second player to attain in 17 consecutive Champions League seasons after Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema. Afterward, Messi stressed the importance of earning a positive result after PSG’s disappointing opening 1-1 draw against Club Brugge. “I hadn’t been ready to play recently and this was only my second game during this stadium,” he told Canal+. “I’m adapting to my new team. The more we forward to play together, the higher our relationship is going to be. We all got to join and improve and keep giving our greatest .”