French football pundit Stephane Bitton has drawn up a timeframe for Lionel Messi to prove himself at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). The Argentine joined PSG last summer from Barcelona on a free deal, but hasn't been able to hit the levels expected of him.
Lionel Messi has scored six goals and provided five assists in 16 appearances across all competitions for PSG this season. Five of his six goals have come in the Champions League. On the domestic front, though, Lionel Messi has struggled. He took six matches to open his Ligue 1 account, and has gone goalless in five more games since.
The jury is thus out on the Argentine's performances in France. With just about half a season left, pundit Stéphane Bitton believes it's time for Lionel Messi to step up now.
“He tested negative for Covid-19 and was, therefore, able to return to Paris. Now, Lionel Messi has a great challenge ahead of him: he has exactly five months left, not one more, to convince us, to convince the entire football world and the supporters of PSG, that his arrival in Paris is not a flop but a success. Me, I am an eternal optimist, and I still believe in the success of the Argentine genius under the jersey of PSG,” Bitton said on France Bleu Paris (via Canal Supporters).
“For his presence against Lyon, it’s a bit of a race against time. It would be great news for him to come back because if Kylian Mbappé is walking on water at the moment, it will not be bad that he is helped and seconded by Lionel Messi,” he added.
Lionel Messi slammed for lack of communication with PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino
Lionel Messi had tested positive for COVID-19 while he was in Argentina last week, celebrating the new year. He recently returned a negative test, which allowed him to return to Paris, as PSG confirmed in an official statement.
There has been no official update on whether Lionel Messi will be able to feature for PSG in their Ligue 1 encounter against Lyon.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino wasn't clear about Messi's situation until after PSG's Coupe de France victory over Vannes in midweek. This didn't go down well with former PSG winger Jerome Rothen, who slammed Messi for a perceived lack of communication.
“I'm assuming you have to respect your coach. When something like that happens to you, I was educated in this way at Clairefontaine in particular, the coach is above everyone, whether you are a star or not . The boss, the one who sets up the team, is Pochettino."
"Through his message where he says he does not know where Messi is, it simply means that Messi did not take his phone to explain himself to Pochettino. That explains a lot of things. The coach can do whatever he wants. It must be terrible. I find that very shocking from Messi,” Rothen added.