Pochettino waiting to see best of Messi at PSG

Messi against Raine

Lionel Messi came on
as a substitute to make his Paris Saint-Germain debut on Sunday but Kylian
Mbappe stole the spotlight with brace against against Reims in Ligue 1.

Messi, wearing the number 30 jersey, came off the bench in
the 66th minute to replace Neymar at the Stade Auguste-Delaune, where fans in
the sell-out 21,000 crowd had earlier chanted his name as he emerged to warm
up.

The Argentine had not played since arriving in Paris from
Barcelona almost three weeks ago, his last appearance in any game dating back
to the Copa America final on July 11, when he led his country to victory
against Brazil.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner will have to wait for his
first goal with his new club, and his first start, which could come when PSG
host Clermont in their next match on September 11.

“I’m very happy that he made his debut. It was very
important for him,” PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino told broadcaster Amazon
Prime after Messi’s low-key first appearance in a PSG shirt.

“He is still far away from his best form but he has
been training well and he will be fit in the next two weeks, after the
international break and, yes, we are waiting for the best from him.”

The week leading up to this game had been dominated not by
Messi but by talk of Mbappe’s future, with Real Madrid reportedly having two
offers for the France World Cup-winning striker rejected.

The latest of these offers was understood to be worth 180
million euros ($212m), an astronomical amount for a player whose contract
expires at the end of the season and who will be free to negotiate a deal with
a new club in January without PSG being able to get a transfer fee.

That amount is also equal to what PSG paid Monaco in 2017 to
sign Mbappe, who was clearly eager to go out on a high if this was to be his
final appearance for the club.

‘Kylian is our
player’

With the transfer deadline looming on Tuesday, the
22-year-old did not appear remotely distracted by the talk of a move as he
headed in a glorious Angel Di Maria cross in the 15th minute to put the away
side in front.

Mbappe then scored his second of the night, and third of the
season, just after the hour mark, finishing off an inviting low cross to the
back post by Achraf Hakimi.

“Kylian is our player and you know that in football and
in business there is always gossip and rumours,” Pochettino said of
Mbappe.

“I think our president and our sporting director were
very clear and he is still here. I am really happy to have Kylian.

“He is one of the best, one of the most important
players in the world today and for him to be with us is a gift.”

Reims were once France’s pre-eminent club, twice reaching
the European Cup final in 1956 and 1959, but it is a long time since the
footballing spotlight has been on the city, 150 kilometres north-east of Paris
in the Champagne region, to such an extent.

The home side, whose coach Oscar Garcia played for Barcelona
in the 1990s, had what they thought was an equalising goal by Zimbabwe’s
Marshall Munetsi early in the second half disallowed for offside.

They put up a good fight but the chances of any team in
France stopping PSG — even if Mbappe departs — are slim.

Neymar started, making his first appearance of the season,
while Di Maria also played in an all-star attack.

They are the only team in Ligue 1 with the maximum 12 points
after four games and they lie two points clear of surprise package Angers, who
beat Rennes 2-0.

Defending champions Lille recorded their first victory of
the Ligue 1 campaign as Yusuf Yazici and Jonathan David scored in a 2-1 win
over Montpellier.

Monaco bounced back from their elimination from the
Champions League in the play-off round in midweek to win 2-1 at Troyes, Sofiane
Diop’s brace securing their first victory of the league season.

Author: desi123

Desi123.com is an online news portal that aims to provide the latest trendy news for Asians living in Asia and around the World.

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