As the 2021-22 season gallops to its end, plenty of French football pundits and fans will no doubt look back and analyze Lionel Messi’s first season with Paris Saint-Germain, with probably the majority of them eager to shred him to pieces in their assessment.
Ludovic Giuly spoke in an interview with Le Parisien (via Paris Fans) about the 34-year-old’s first campaign with the parc des Princes club, sharing his thoughts on the playing style he had observed Messi has adapted since joining the capital club this past summer. He is of the view that at PSG the former FC Barcelona talisman has adopted more of the approach of a facilitator with his 13 assists in Ligue 1.
That said, he still harbors expectations of Messi increasing his goalscoring tally, although Giuly adds that the Argentine at his age will now rather pick and choose when to strike and give more opportunities for the younger, hence more nimble ones, like Kylian Mbappé , to be entrusted with the task scoring.
“He changed his game because he no longer has the backstroke of ten years ago. He adapted to Kylian who goes 2000 an hour and who is the strong man of PSG. It’s his intelligence to say to himself: Maybe I won’t score 30 goals, but if I make 15 or 20 assists, that’s good too… Even if I know he would like to be even more decisive,” Giuly said.
“Leo played inverted foot, striker, number 10; it’s up to him to find the right position with the coach. He didn’t lose his football overnight. He was also unlucky this season. Kylian does the job, and he is in another register. He was already a passer in Barcelona, but he is perhaps even more so.”
Should Mbappé opt to remain at PSG and Messi is contented on being more of a playmaker and creatively providing the assists, it stands to reason that the capital club will need to find another forward to contribute to the goalscoring.
Then again, if Mbappé should finally depart this summer, the French giants might also require the Argentine ace to again up the ante in goalscoring next season.