Real Madrid Versus PSG: Messi Fails Once Again
Lionel Messi once again cut a frustrated figure as Paris Saint Germain grabbed defeat from the clutches of victory against Real Madrid.
Real Madrid looked like they were heading out of Europe after coming down to a Kylian Mbappe goal in the PSG controlled first half.
Despite PSG’s attacking dominance in the first half of the tie, Lionel Messi just like the rest of his season with the Ligue 1 giant posed little attacking threat to Madrid. Instead, Messi played deep assisting Verratti and Paredes with midfield duties.
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Karim Benzema, in a manner reminiscent of his ex-teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, pulled a Champions League miracle by netting a second-half hattrick to advance Madrid into the second half.
The result of the tie further compounds the inconsistent season Messi has had since moving to France. Save for his Champions League brace against Leipzig and a couple of assists (totaling 10 as at the time of this article) Lionel Messi has largely been a shell of his Barcelona self.
Messi’s perennial rival, Cristiano Ronaldo himself is having a difficult season with English club Manchester United. However, with a meager tally of seven goals (two in Ligue 1) and in comparison, with Ronaldo’s fifteen goals, public perception is that Messi is having the personally weaker season, especially given the fact that the Ligue 1 is relatively less competitive to the English Premier League.
Messi and PSG fans were looking towards the Champions league tie against Madrid as a rejuvenation of the Argentinian talisman’s season. For one, Messi had an impressive showing against St Etienne where he had two assists after missing a decisive penalty in the first leg against Madrid, and secondly, the Bernabeu was familiar territory for Messi, where he has scored a total of 15 goals at the stadium in his career. However, Messi has failed to register a goal or assist in his last nine matches against Real Madrid.
Hopes of Messi fans around the world were dashed. At the sound of the final whistle, it was Messi staring dejectedly at his failures. Once again Messi had fallen to his familiar rivals, Real Madrid who have now successfully terrified him in and out of Spain. Also, for consecutive years Messi had been knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16.
The results of this tie leave a lot to ponder on. This game highlights the elite status of Karim Benzema, the limitations of Pochettino as a big club coach, the fragility of PSG, post- Mbappe but more glaringly it signals the end of Messi at the top of professional football.
On Wednesday against Real Madrid, once again Messi failed.