Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest footballers of all time. Despite his otherworldly ability to single handedly carry teams, many “haters” pushed the narrative that Messi could not succeed away from Barca. It looks to be the case as of late.
Since his arrival at PSG, Messi has struggled to replicate the legendary form that we have gotten used to seeing during his 18 year reign at the Camp Nou. With only 6 goals in 18 appearances for the French giants, could it be a sign that the GOAT is finally in decline, and will we see the end of the Messi era?
After breaking out of the La Masia academy in 2005, Messi quickly established himself as a regular in the Barcelona squad after receiving a standing ovation in his debut for Barca’s first-team against Juventus.
The rest is history. In the 2008-2009 season, Messi had finally won the treble with Barca, winning the La Liga title, Copa Del Rey, and the Champions League. He also found himself as the top scorer in the Champions League that season, scoring a total of 9 goals throughout the tournament.
His total trophy haul at Barcelona after his years of service are 10 La Ligas, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 6 Copa Del Reys, 4 Champions League titles, 3 FIFA Club World Cups, and 3 UEFA Super Cups.
On a personal note, he would also go on to win a total of 6 Ballon d’Or titles while at Barcelona, including an unprecedented 4 year streak from 2009-2012. Other notable accolades during Messi’s best years include the record for most goals scored in a calendar year.
Shock Move to PSG
Barcelona’s decline as a club began in the years where Messi had just shot on the scene, albeit at a very slow pace, almost unnoticeable. Of course, the Barca Bubble had to burst some day, and it did so in shocking fashion.
On the 1st of July 2021, Messi’s contract at Barcelona expired, leaving him a free agent, with the club blaming their current financial situation for the failure to hold on to their star player. Just like that, the unthinkable happened. Messi was no longer a Barcelona player.
On 10 August, Messi joined French club Paris Saint-Germain. He signed a two-year deal until June 2023 with an option for an extra year. Messi chose 30 as his squad number, the same he wore as a teenager when he made his senior debut for Barcelona.
Since then, Messi has failed to live up to expectations, with performances a far cry from what we are used to seeing of him. With only 6 goals in 18 games, PSG fans may be wondering if Messi is the right man for the squad.
Father time catches up to everyone, even if you are the GOAT. Messi’s “decline” is something that is to be expected, and it is safe to say that it is, sadly, the end of an era. On the bright side, we have exciting talent that is set to replace the current generation of stars. Mbappe and Haaland, anyone?