(Paris) After two seasons, the conclusion is clear: Lionel Messi has never found happiness at Paris Saint-Germain. As for the Parisian club, they expected much more from the Argentinian international.
His arrival in August 2021 had however raised many expectations and had been worthily celebrated by several thousand supporters. Scenes of joy that augured a happy marriage. But after 21 years spent at FC Barcelona, where he was adored, the adaptation of the Argentinian prodigy in the French capital was more complicated.
After four months at the luxury hotel Royal Monceau, a few meters from the Champs-Élysées, Messi moved with his family to a house in Neuilly-sur-Seine, west of Paris. His direct neighbors speak of a “completely normal man, who does not show manners and sometimes shows up at the wheel of his car, without trying to hide himself”.
Two guards are present 24 hours a day in front of Messi’s house to ensure his safety. The Messis are tenants: a sign that they don’t necessarily want to stay in Paris very long? We will come back to this later.
After a difficult first season in the French championship, he has performed well in recent weeks, having needed several months to get used to the rough treatment of opposing defenders. But it is especially in the Champions League, where the leaders of Qatar expected him, that Messi completely disappointed. For months, he also did not understand why French journalists were giving him such low marks, again used to perfect in Catalonia.
With PSG fans, the divide is total. After each game, he immediately goes to the locker room. He never comes to thank the Parisian fans. He never forgave them for whistling him last season when PSG were knocked out by Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 second leg with the biggest responsibility resting with him.
His contract at PSG expires in just over two months. If the club and the player’s entourage do not want to let anything shine through about Messi’s future, his departure this summer is an open secret.
“Even if Leo is one of the best players of all time, the future of PSG is Kylian Mbappé, judge Jérôme Rothen, who wore the colors of Paris between 2004 and 2010 and who draws up an unflattering record of Messi in Paris.
His departure is therefore no longer in doubt. In Paris, not many people will regret it. With losses of 370 million euros for the 2021-2022 season, it will be difficult for PSG to offer even more money to Messi, especially since he splurged for Mbappé during his own contract extension last summer with a salary close to 70 million euros gross per year.
“A new contract would be counterproductive,” explains Mickael Madar, former PSG striker (1999-2001). It would be a very bad idea to extend with Messi, especially because he makes no effort to move the club forward. He doesn’t run, I never see him fight. He doesn’t look happy and the club aren’t happy with him either. »
On the other hand, thanks to Messi, Paris Saint-Germain are experiencing an unprecedented boom on social networks, as well as in terms of the sale of jerseys around the world. No less than 14.3 million Internet users visited the club’s various channels (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) in just one week when he was hired by PSG in August 2021. Just on the Twitter account of the PSG, there were 3.8 million more Internet users in one day.
These figures are much higher than those of the summer of 2017, when Neymar from Barcelona and Mbappé from Monaco were signed in the space of a few weeks for a total of 400 million euros. More than one out of two jerseys sold by PSG is stamped with the name of Pulga. This season, more than 1 million jerseys have been sold, an all-time high.
Now PSG bosses want to see less show and more sweat on the pitch. An extension is therefore illusory. Messi himself does not digest that those responsible have made Kylian Mbappé the number one star. The lack of competitiveness of his team on the European scene (two eliminations from the round of 16) does not motivate him more to extend the adventure on the banks of the Seine.
To date, he has not given any response to his landlord as to whether he wishes to extend his rental agreement which ends on June 30…