Messi and PSG: A drama in five acts
Paris (AFP) –
Lionel Messi completed his move to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday with the French side breathing a sigh of relief after some heartbreaking moments against the Argentine star in the past.
- 2013: Old guard trumps new money -
For the first time, Barcelona and Messi meet the Qatari version of PSG in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. For the second season of the club under the flag of Qatar, the 'galacticos' appear but even the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham can't prevent defeat. Messi scores at the Parc des Princes in the first leg which ends 2-2 with the return finishing 1-1.
- 2014 and 2015: MSN is OMG! -
Less than a year after that confrontation, PSG and Barcelona were drawn in the same Champions League group. PSG won 3-2 at home with Barca coming out on top 3-1 at Camp Nou inspired by MSN -- Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
They were responsible for five of their team's goals over the two ties.
Then, they met again in the quarter-finals in April. Barcelona won 3-1 in Paris thanks to Neymar and a double from Suarez, before winning 2-0 in the return with two goals from the Brazilian. Messi notched up an assist.
- 2017: Miracle men -
The two teams meet again in the Champions League last 16 with PSG romping to a 4-0 win at home.
However, the remarkable turnaround has gone down in the history of the game.
PSG were 3-1 down in the 87th minute of the second leg in Spain but were still looking certain of qualifying until Barca incredibly scored three late goals in the dying moments to win 6-1 on the night and 6-5 on aggregate.
Messi scored once from the penalty spot while Neymar claimed two of the three late strikes.
- 2021: Changing times -
Four years later and the tide has turned. Barcelona are struggling to integrate new recruits while PSG had made the Champions League final in the previous season for the first time. In the last 16, PSG win 4-1 at Camp Nou with Messi on target for the opening goal but overshadowed by a breathtaking hat-trick from Kylian Mbappe.
The return ends 1-1 with Messi and Mbappe on the scoresheet again.
The defeat is seen as a prime factor in pushing Messi to ponder his future with the club.
- 2021: Welcome aboard -
Messi pens a two-year deal with PSG who had quickly emerged as the favourites to sign him following the Argentine's shock departure last week from Barcelona.
PSG are reportedly paying 35 million euros ($41 million) a year to Messi, who will wear the number 30 jersey.
© 2021 AFP