"Very bad that a player of this level is treated this way" - Barcelona star slams PSG fans for booing Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi was booed by PSG fans before the Ligue1 game against Rennes.
Lionel Messi was booed by PSG fans before the Ligue1 game against Rennes.

Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto has hit out at the way Lionel Messi has been treated by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) fans.

Last year, Messi was booed by PSG’s supporters at the Parc des Princes after they were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League last 16. He experienced a repeat of that on Sunday (March 19) after PSG exited the continental competition at the same stage in 2023.

PSG were handed a shock defeat by Rennes in Ligue 1 on the day. Goals from Karl Toko Ekambi and Arnaud Kalimuendo saw the visiting side take three points at the Parc des Princes. Before the match, the 35-year-old Argentine was targeted with boos by the home faithful.

Speaking about PSG fans' treatment of Messi, Roberto said:

‘‘You can’t understand why, he is having good seasons in Paris, scoring a lot of goals, assisting. They’ve taken it out on him because of the elimination [from the Champions League], but he’s a spectacular player and it’s very bad that a player of this level is treated in this way. We’re going to treat him very well here if he comes.’’

Juninho backs PSG fans' decision to boo Lionel Messi

Lyon legend and the club's current sporting director Juninho Pernambucano, meanwhile, has backed PSG fans' decision to boo Lionel Messi. He believes that the Argentine did not deliver in the UEFA Champions League and, like every other player, should not be exempt from the boos.

Speaking on RMC Sport before PSG's defeat to Rennes, Juninho said:

"Even if he is Messi, he is still a human being. In the fans' minds, the last game he's in is the Bayern game and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he gets booed. We play, we are well paid, we do a job that we really like… but in the end, it is for the fans that we do everything.
"Even if he is Messi and even if he scored 35 goals this season, it's normal to boo him; the fans have every right to do so."

Former PSG winger Jerome Rothen echoed Juninho's views, stating that Messi deserves to be booed by the fans. He even urged the ultras to target the Argentine star.

He said (via RMC Sport):

"Whether it's Lionel Messi or another player, he can be whistled. Should we refrain from whistling because it's Messi? Why? Because his name is Messi? Whether you don't give a damn or not, whether you're good or not, whether you're invested or not, the supporter is there just to open his mouth and applaud?"

He added:

"The fans shouldn't say anything? They buy popcorn, eat burgers, drink their soda and it doesn't matter? Of course Lionel Messi can be whistled, he's a player like any other. Otherwise, we have to do something else, find another sport. There will be fewer supporters behind him, like me, and many who remain unsatisfied since he signed for PSG."

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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