Lionel Messi, 36, signed for PSG in the summer of 2021 after 17 seasons at Barcelona, but will now head Stateside to Inter Miami in the MLS after quitting the French capital.
Updated Jun 26, 2023 | 12:53 AM IST
Massive Disappointment: Lionel Messi Lashes Out At PSG Following Exit From Ligue 1 Club
Photo : AP
“I came to Paris because I liked the club, because I had friends in the dressing room… it seemed easier for me to adapt rather than another destination I could have gone to,” Messi told beIN Sports in an interview broadcast Sunday.
“In reality, it was a very tough adaptation, much harder than I expected… with a new gameplan, new teammates, a new city.
“I arrived late, I didn’t have a pre-season. The start was difficult for me, my family.”
Messi’s first season, during which he scored 11 goals in 34 games for PSG, was made harder after he contracted Covid during the winter break back in Argentina, meaning he was sidelined for a month.
“It took me time to refind my physical form,” he admitted, adding that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar — which Messi won with Argentina — also took its toll.
“It’s not an excuse but the World Cup played a big role. Some came back later than others, some were injured, like Neymar.
“I think, generally, the level of Ligue 1 and the Champions League was affected by the World Cup.”
There were even sections of PSG fans who turned on Messi, whistling at him from the stands.
“In the beginning, it was great, I received a lot of encouragement… but later on a part of the Parisian fanbase treated me differently. The majority treated me well, but there was a rupture with a part of the public,” he acknowledged.