The statistics reveal a lot about Lionel Messi’s season thus far. The player with the most successful dribbles this season among the top five European leagues is Paris Saint-No. Germain’s 30, who will play Maccabi Haifa on Wednesday night in the Champions League in Israel. Who is in his rear? 19 for Jude Bellingham!
In short, the statistics indicate that Messi is back. His performances support this as well; in just seven Ligue 1 games, he has already produced three goals, seven assists, and 22 opportunities. His nonverbal cues appear to indicate that he is content with his football, his team, and his life in Paris. Naturally, there is a stark contrast from the previous season: despite having 14 assists in the league, his performance was still well behind what was anticipated of him.
The current season is really unique. As you might anticipate, at age 35, he will never again be the same Messi he was ten years ago, but he is unquestionably performing at or near his peak. His inventiveness is clear, he uses the ball more strategically when he decides to speed, and his dribbling in tight spaces is still razor-sharp. His great degree of enthusiasm makes him occasionally breathtaking to witness.
Messi was the only one initiating action against Brest on Saturday when PSG came off as slow and ordinary. On Neymar’s goal, he made a spectacular pass that belongs on his career highlight tape. The Argentine is once again having fun because of the genuine dynamic.
Due to all the changes brought on by leaving Barcelona after nearly two decades, last season was at times difficult. The personal aspects of relocating to a new nation, starting a new life, looking for a new school for his children, etc., were in addition to adjusting at a new club with new management and new teammates.
After that abrupt adjustment, Messi had a year to process it all and adjust. Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria, two other Argentines on the PSG team, left the French capital this summer. Both players joined Juventus, the former on loan and the latter on a free transfer. As a result, Messi had to become more approachable with the rest of the team, which he is enjoying.
A significant event has also been the manager change. Although he enjoys working with Christophe Galtier, he didn’t get along well with Mauricio Pochettino. Since Pochettino continued putting him wide last year, which he can no longer do at his age with the same efficiency, he thinks the new system with a back three is a smart concept, and he is enjoying his more central position. His start to the season has undoubtedly been boosted by the fact that this is a very crucial year and season for him.
The final World Cup Messi will play in is rapidly approaching, and he needs to be prepared. This is perhaps his best chance to win it since he made his Argentina debut in 2005, with 86 goals in 162 appearances. As his first international title (apart from the Olympic gold with the Under-23s in 2008), the Copa America victory in 2021 relieved a tremendous amount of burden off of him and the entire nation. He has been creating a true squad with head coach Lionel Scaloni, one that defends and attacks as a unit with a rekindled feeling of cohesion and camaraderie. Messi is adamant that Argentina will win the World Cup, therefore succeeding with PSG up to his departure for Qatar on November 16 is crucial. He needs to be in top shape for the opening match against Saudi Arabia on November 22.
His current actions are all directed at his World Cup ambition, which benefits PSG. According to reports, the club is really pleased with what Messi is doing and displaying. Things have been going well on and off the field ever since Messi even returned early from his summer vacation and made himself highly accessible to club sponsors during their preseason tour in Japan.
The PSG management is aware that if winning the World Cup motivated him, then success in the Champions League should do the same for him in the second half of the season. A major goal for him this year is to win the championship for the fifth time; according to reports, Messi believes that PSG has something special this year and can win it all.
Galtier and Luis Campos, the new sporting director of PSG, would both like to see Messi continue in Paris for at least one more season. He has a third-year option in his contract, which he and the team must agree to exercise. The club’s plan is to extend his contract by giving him a new two-year deal that includes the option year and an additional year. The Argentine refused to answer affirmatively or negatively, instead assuring executives that he will not discuss his future until after the World Cup.
At least they can take in a little more of Messi’s magic while they wait for discussions to start on his preferred schedule.