Lionel Messi stood, smiled and looked dumbfounded as PSG fans chanted the great footballer’s name – “Leo Messi, Leo Messi” – ahead of Saturday’s Ligue 1 match against Strasbourg. Messi wasn’t fully fit yet and didn’t make it to the starting line-up for the match, but he saw his new team beat Strasbourg 4-2.
PSG’s latest signing joined four other recruits as they were introduced to nearly 49,000 fans at the Parc des Princes ahead of kick-off.
Messi was not in the actual squad for the match. He recently returned from a long vacation after helping Argentina win the Copa America.
In a spectacle that many did not expect recently, former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos paid tribute to Messi – his constant opponent of Barcelona and records in the “Classicos” between Barcelona and Madrid – as he joined him on the podium.
Italy’s Euro 2020 goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Netherlands captain Georginio Wijnaldum and former Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi were warmly welcomed.
But nothing compares to the mega title dedicated to Messi, four-time Champions League winner and six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
He joined Paris Saint-Germain this week on a two-year deal after his new contract with Barcelona fell apart dramatically, leaving him in tears as PSG progressed rapidly.
Earlier on Saturday, coach Christophe Galtier returned to Lille and punished his old team in Nice’s 4-0 win.
Striker Kasper Dolberg and midfielder Hicham Boudaoui scored a goal in the first four minutes with the entry of lively striker Amine Al-Juwairi.
Lille came from behind from 3-1 down and tied 3-3 last weekend, but there was no turning back this time as Al-Quwairi made it 3-0 from the penalty spot shortly after the break and Dolberg headed his way halfway. The second method. during the second half.
Last season, Gallier coaching helped Premiership Lille win the title against all odds.
But Lille wasn’t keen on letting him leave a year before his contract expired, and Nice had to pay €4 million ($4.7 million) in compensation. This resulted in strained relations between Galtier and Lille’s chief, Olivier Letang.
It must have been a strange sight for Galtier as the recent League Cup and Champions Cup were presented to local fans.
Soon they were in a desperate mood as Nice led 2-0.
Dolberg played his first match since scoring three goals for Denmark in Euro 2020, and scored from close range in the first minute.
His poor defense of Zeki Celik under Dolberg’s pressure led to Joure forming from El Boudaoui and his powerful shot past Lille’s new goalkeeper Leo Jardim – who has scored seven goals in two matches since replacing Mike Minin.
Marseille will host Bordeaux in selected matches on Sunday.
Monaco lost 1-0 to Lorient on Friday and have just one point from their first two matches to finish third last season.
(France 24 with The Associated Press)
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