Lionel Messi leaves rival fans clapping for him as he assist Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappe in PSG’s victory over Toulouse last night.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s struggles in his first season at Paris Saint-Germain have been well-documented, but it appears that he has just developed one of the greatest cases of second-season syndrome that we’ve ever seen.
Simply put, PSG has improved significantly under Christophe Galtier’s leadership, with the attack showing the most progress as Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar are finally beginning to mesh.
Messi and PSG have had successful starts.
The Ligue 1 season of the French champions began with victories against Clermont (5-0), Montpellier (5-2), and Lille (7-1); only a weekend 1-1 stalemate with AS Monaco prevented them from going undefeated.
On Wednesday night, though, things got back to normal as Parisian restored to winning ways with a 3-0 victory at Toulouse that demonstrated just how serious Messi is about this campaign.
The Barcelona legend once again leaned into his later-career position of a playmaker by pulling the strings for others around him, even though his name wasn’t on the scoresheet this time.
To retain PSG’s advantage at the top of the table, the 35-year-old concluded his night’s work at the Stadium de Toulouse with two assists to his credit, supplying both Mbappe and Neymar.
Let’s start by discussing Messi’s assist for Neymar in 2022–23, which was undoubtedly the less brilliant of the two but nonetheless deserving of credit.
After all, Neymar, who has been in truly terrifying form this season, was set up for a clear shot on goal by the deftness and vision of Messi’s lovely pass into the penalty area, which completed a smooth team move.
Messi once again cranked on the style in the second half to guarantee that Mbappe added to his own score after the Brazilian completed the task with a neat finish to give PSG a 1-0 lead at the break.
A Toulouse player was left flat-footed by Messi’s spectacular run down the left side, but he chose to go the altruistic route and pass the ball to Mbappe instead of continuing alone.
Messi’s two bursts of inventive impudence were all she wrote, setting the stage for Juan Bernat to score PSG’s third goal and secure all three points in the 90th minute.
The entire stadium cheers.
Even that sums up the forward’s evening as he draws ovations from every section of the stadium. By that point, though, Messi had already put his feet up for the evening as Galtier hailed him back to the bench for safekeeping.
While Toulouse supporters’ polite applause may not have been Ronaldinho receiving a standing ovation at the Bernabeu, it nonetheless demonstrated how flawless Messi was that evening.
Although there is evidence to believe that Messi’s performance was only ordinary, it just so happens that most players would rate Messi’s performance as their best of the season.
Therefore, it is quite unsettling to consider that Messi is beginning to play for PSG on a consistent basis in the manner that we have come to expect from him at Camp Nou. And if that isn’t a terrifying prospect for all European defenses, we’re not sure what is.
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