Ligue 1 English

Thierry Henry ‘not surprised’ by former team-mate Lionel Messi’s shocked reaction to being hauled off by Mauricio Pochettino

Former Barcelona great, Thierry Henry, has revealed that he wasn’t in the least surprised by Lionel Messi’s blunt reaction to being substituted during Paris Saint-Germain’s last minute win against Lyon.

With both sides level at 1-1, Messi, who was making his home debut in front of the PSG faithful, was subbed by manager Mauricio Pochettino in the 76th minute, with Achraf Hakimi replacing him.

PSG proceeded to win the game 2-1 with Mauro Icardi pulling off a last minute winner in extra time, but the main post-match chatter was on Messi’s stunned and unhappy reaction to being withdrawn, with the Argentina star glaring at Pochettino and off-handedly snubbing a customary handshake from his compatriot. Messi also made a gesture with his hands apart indicating that he didn’t understand the decision.

Henry said: ‘No, not really. It does not surprise me.

‘Maybe he didn’t want to go out. We don’t know what they’re saying to each other. Let’s not start the controversy. He surely wanted to stay on the pitch so he could score.’

Messi did clearly make an impact against Lyon but has yet to score in his three appearances for PSG following his departure from Barcelona.

However, Henry, who played with Messi at the Catalan club from 2007 to 2010, has no doubts at all that his former team-mate will be making a major impact soon for PSG.

Henry said: ‘But it will come, it will come quietly. It takes time to adapt even for the best player in the world.’

After being taken off, Messi was given a round of applause although not a standing ovation from the PSG supporters.

Following the game Pochettino explained his decision.

He said: ‘Everyone knows we have great players in the squad, we have 35 players. But we must make decisions for the good of the team. Sometimes they lead to a positive result and sometimes not.

‘These are decisions we need to take. Sometimes it pleases people, or it doesn’t. I asked him how he was, and he said he was fine.’

Messi will hope for a better experience when PSG return to action on Wednesday away to Metz.