Lionel Messi Set To Return As PSG And Manchester City Go Head To Head

Lionel Messi

When Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City meet in a heavyweight group encounter at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, Pep Guardiola and his former pupil Lionel Messi will square off for the first time in the Champions League. PSG, which is owned by Qatar, and City, which is sponsored by Abu Dhabi, have changed the face of European football in the previous decade with their spending in the pursuit of Champions League glory, which both clubs have yet to achieve.

Source: AFP

Last season, City came agonisingly close to winning the Champions League when they upset PSG in the semi-finals only to lose in the final to Chelsea in Porto.

PSG, who finished second in 2020, will be out for retribution, but they have already gotten one over on the English champions by signing Messi, who appeared like he might end up at the Etihad Stadium at one stage.

“I don’t need to explain Messi because he speaks for himself. What he’s accomplished is extraordinary, and maybe he’ll be able to contribute to the game tomorrow “Guardiola remarked on Monday that he was looking forward to facing the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, with whom he had so much success in Barcelona from 2008 to 2012.

Messi has been out of PSG’s last two games due to a minor knee injury. Since joining from Barcelona at the beginning of August, he has only made three appearances for his new team, complete 90 minutes only once.

PSG drew 1-1 with Club Brugge in Belgium in their first Champions League Group A match, a result that put Mauricio Pochettino’s side in second place behind City, who beat RB Leipzig 6-3 last time out.

Both teams are likely to progress from the group stage to the last 16, but a loss for PSG at the Parc des Princes would put them in a precarious position and could even lead to the inconceivable scenario of a group-stage exit.

“This isn’t a game with a clear winner. Two other good teams are also vying for a spot in the next round: “Ander Herrera, a former Manchester United midfielder who has four goals for PSG this season, argued.

“Sometimes the pressure we have, something I have felt since the day I came in here, it is a pressure that doesn’t exist at any other club in Europe.

“No other team in Europe is obliged to win the Champions League, so this pressure in my opinion is unfair, but it is something we accept and get on with.”

However, no other team in Europe can boast an offensive combination of Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe’s calibre.

Angel Di Maria, who is currently serving a Champions League suspension after receiving a red card against City last season, might be added to the mix.

In any scenario, Messi is unquestionably the centre of attention.

In the perspective of their numerous critics, including La Liga president Javier Tebas, City and PSG represent the same thing.

Nonetheless, their approaches have differed, with City mostly relying on Guardiola to build a successful team and PSG placing a greater focus on individual superstars.

PSG had not won any of the clubs’ previous five matches, but they did not have Messi.

“We are talking about the best player in the world but you need to understand he is also a man,” Pochettino said when asked about how his compatriot was settling in Paris.

“He needs to adapt to a new club and a new culture.

“He was at Barcelona for 20 years. Now everything is new. He has not been here long and he needs time to get to know his teammates, but for sure he is going to succeed.”

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