Lionel Messi stood up and smiled, looking paralyzed as Paris Saint-Germain fans chanted the great footballer’s name – “Leo Messi, Leo Messi” – before Saturday’s French league game against Strasbourg. Messi, who was not yet in top form, did not make the team of the match, but saw his new club beat Strasbourg 4-2.
The latest PSG signing was joined by four other recruits who appeared before some 49,000 fans at the Parc des Princes before kick-off.
Messi was not on the actual team for the game. He recently returned from a long vacation after helping Argentina win the Copa América.
In a scene few could have predicted even recently, former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos applauded Messi, his eternal Barcelona nemesis and the all-time top scorer in the “Clásicos” between Barcelona and Madrid, as he joined him on the podium.
Italy’s Euro 2020 star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Netherlands captain Georginio Wijnaldum and former Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi received loud ovations.
But nothing compared to the enormous reserve for Messi, a four-time Champion of the Champions League and a six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
He joined PSG on a two-year contract this week after his new contract with Barcelona sensationally collapsed and left him in tears as PSG moved quickly.
Early Saturday, coach Christophe Galtier returned to Lille and punished his old club when Nice won 4-0.
Forward Kasper Dolberg and midfielder Hichem Boudaoui scored in the first four minutes, with spirited forward Amine Gouiri in both.
Lille rallied 3-1 against to draw 3-3 last weekend, but this time there was no comeback as Gouiri made it 3-0 from the penalty spot shortly after the break and Dolberg headed in his second out. half of the second half.
Last season, Galtier’s excellent training helped Lille win the title against all odds.
But Lille was unwilling to let him leave a year before his contract expired, and Nice had to pay 4 million euros ($ 4.7 million) in compensation. This created strained relations between Galtier and Lille President Olivier Letang.
It must have been a strange sight for Galtier as the league trophy he won and the recent Champions Trophy were presented to local fans.
They were soon dejected when Nice were up 2-0.
Playing his first match since scoring three goals for Denmark at Euro 2020, Dolberg found the net in the first minute from close range.
Zeki Celik’s poor defense under pressure from Dolberg resulted in Gouri setting up Boudaoui and he unleashed a steady shot that outpointed new Lille goalkeeper Leo Jardim, who has conceded seven in two games since replacing Mike Maignan.
Marseille hosts Bordeaux in the selection for Sunday’s games.
Monaco lost 1-0 at Lorient on Friday and have just one point from their first two games, having finished third last season.
( Jowharwith AP)