Fan Discontent Grows as PSG Struggles Continue, With Messi a Target

Mon Apr 03 2023
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PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain’s struggles continue as they face growing fan discontent following their recent exit from the Champions League. A section of the club’s support has turned on Lionel Messi amid a run of poor results that has given their domestic rivals hope in the French title race.

On Sunday, Lionel Messi’s name was jeered by few fans at the Parc des Princes as the teams were announced before PSG’s home game against Lyon. The Argentine turned in a flat display as his team lost 1-0 against opponents, their second straight defeat in Ligue 1, both without scoring a goal.

As a result, PSG’s apparent march towards a record 11th French title has been slowed, and their lead at the top of the points table from Marseille and Lens is down to six points with nine matches left. The team’s eighth defeat in 18 outings this year is their worst start to a calendar year since 2001, and PSG team’s next match will be away to a Nice team who are unbeaten since early January.

Despite the absurdity of jeering Messi, given his recent World Cup victory with Argentina, some fans see him as a symbol of all the club has done wrong in focusing on the football superstar signings while failing to build a genuinely competitive team. The French press has suggested that one reason for booing Messi is his apparent lack of effort on the pitch, spending too much time walking.

Issues with Lionel Messi

However, the real issue with Messi is his age, as he turns 36 in June, and his contract with PSG expires after two years in Paris. With his wages costing the club around 40 million euros ($43.6m) a year, PSG must consider whether it is wise to retain an ageing player while trying to stay in line with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.

Meanwhile, PSG coach Christophe Galtier is hanging on to his job despite an underwhelming first season in charge. The team’s main objective is now to win the French title, with major clubs like Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur all sacking managers in recent weeks.

Overall, PSG must lift themselves to see the domestic title over the line, with fans hoping for a reaction from their champions. But the backdrop of Qatar’s interest in Manchester United and the future of Galtier and Messi’s contract means PSG’s long-term future remains uncertain.

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