Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain both fell below expectations again on Wednesday night as they were held to a scoreless draw at home to Nice in Ligue 1, leading to criticism
Wednesday was another frustrating night for Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain as they underwhelmed in a goalless draw at home to Nice in Ligue 1.
It was just the fifth time he has completed a full 90 minutes of league action for Les Parisiens but he failed to add to his solitary goal scored in Ligue 1.
Messi netted in last month’s 3-1 win over Nantes but is now at risk of failing to net over 20 league goals in a single league campaign for the first time since the 2007/08 campaign – when he scored 10 times in La Liga.
It is unsurprising, given the 34-year-old’s track record and remarkable level of stardom, that his below par performances are now beginning to draw criticism in France.
Leading sports newspaper L’Equipe gave a damning analysis of Messi’s performance on Wednesday night, one which they believe mirrors his time so far in the French capital.
The daily paper wrote that Messi is giving “the impression that he always plays at the same slow pace and, on occasions, seems disconnected” from his teammates.
Le Parisien were similarly damning of the performance, but directed their ire more towards the team as a whole and coach Mauricio Pochettino.
The outlet proclaimed: “The game of Mauricio Pochettino’s team is slowly heading towards nothingness.”
Of course, this needs to be put into context – Messi has scored three Champions League goals for PSG, helping them through to the Round of 16.
Wednesday night was just the third time in 16 Ligue 1 games this season in which they have dropped points, and their lead at the top of the standings remains in double digits.
However, there is little doubt that their level of performance has fallen far below expectations both domestically and in Europe.
Many of their Ligue 1 victories have been unconvincing and they have often been second best against opponents whose teams have been assembled on a fraction of PSG’s budget.
Furthermore, they were outclassed by Manchester City in last week’s narrow loss at the Etihad and they put in similarly unconvincing performances against both Club Brugge and RB Leipzig – both of whom took points from Pochettino’s side.
All is not well in the French capital and with speculation mounting over Pochettino’s future, this could be another season that brings trophies domestically but one in which their frailties are exposed in Europe.
This has been a record-breaking week for Messi, but it is also the latest indication that his individual glories at the very pinnacle of football may eventually be starting to decline.