Lionel Messi scored the goal that clinched the Ligue 1 title for PSG.
The Parisians lost out on the title to Lille last season, but were too good for the competition this term. They won the league with four games to spare and a 13-point gap.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino’s side sealed the title following a 1-1 draw against Lens on Saturday. While a few fans celebrated the return of the trophy to Paris, others used the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction.
Some of the supporters turned against Lionel Messi, booing the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. Admittedly, PSG have underachieved this season, but it was totally unfair to jeer Messi.
Stats don’t tell the full story
After a summer where the Ligue 1 giants brought in Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum and Messi, many fans expected them to challenge in Europe.
However, PSG once again fell short in the continent, exiting the UEFA Champions League at the Round of 16 to Real Madrid. Messi’s pedigree and talent made him an easy target, as he was expected to lead the club’s European charge. However, the former Barcelona star cannot do it alone.
He has had an underwhelming campaign, per his own standards, but he still managed four goals and 13 assists in Ligue 1. Kylian Mbappe is the only PSG player who has scored more goals and recorded more assists than Messi this season.
Moreover, when it comes to the Argentine superstar, statistics don’t always tell the full story. He impacts games from the deep and is the kind of player who delights in giving the pass that precedes the assist. It hasn’t been a good season for him, but even the world’s best players need time to adapt to a different league and a new system. Messi deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Lionel Messi played his part in PSG’s league success
Messi’s goal in the 1-1 draw against Lens effectively crowned PSG as champions, but some fans have tried to downplay the importance of that moment.
For them, the term ‘title-winning goal’ is not right, and they argue that Messi did little in PSG’s journey to being crowned champions. Such assertions are, however, inaccurate. Messi may not have been at his best, but he is still easily one of PSG’s top two players, having had 22 goal contributions in 30 matches thus far.
The 34-year-old certainly played his role and without his goals and assists, PSG wouldn’t have wrapped up the title this comfortably, considering how they struggled last season.
“The whistles against Messi? It’s unbelievable,” Pochettino said in his post-match press conference, as quoted by the Mirror. “These are hard things to accept. A difficult situation to imagine and which cannot be understood, in my opinion. All the more so with the greatness of Messi, what he gives and will continue to give to football.”
It’s inaccurate to say Messi contributed little to PSG’s title success, irrespective of whether the argument is based on statistics or not. The fact that he was PSG’s second-best player this season must count for something even if, by Messi’s own standards, he’s used to being the main man.