Lionel Messi, the return.
After a dozen days of rest and a handful of sessions to get back into the rhythm at Camp des Loges, the world champion returns to service with PSG against Angers this Wednesday (9 p.m.), during the 18th day of Ligue 1. A clash of extremes between the leader and the red lantern (the ranking here) which will be particularly scrutinized.
And not just because Christophe Galtier's men lost in their last league outing.
Indeed, we will closely follow the reception that will be given to the Pulga by the public at the Parc des Princes.
Public who clearly made Kylian Mbappé (still at rest) his darling.
The champion is you
“: this is what we could read on a banner deployed by the Collectif Ultras Paris for the crack of Bondy during the victory over Strasbourg (2-1) at the end of the year.
We imagine that some supporters may have been irritated by the immobility of the said Lionel Messi about the inappropriate celebrations of some of his Argentine teammates after the Qatari World Cup final, Albiceleste goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in the lead …
Calendar and results Ligue 1
League 1 standings
Christophe Galtier has already tried to put out the fire at a press conference.
Ditto for Kylian Mbappé, questioned on the subject in the mixed zone.
According to Le Parisien, no celebration will be organized by Paris SG.
There is neither the need nor the request for Leo to be celebrated
,” promises the Parisian coach, while the club have already paid tribute to their number 30 on the training ground.
And to add: “
We are very lucky to have a player like him with us.
I dare to hope that it will be celebrated and celebrated by our supporters at the Parc des Princes.
There's no reason it can't
In the meantime, back to the game for the current co-best passer in L1 (10), who will have to remobilize after having fulfilled the dream of a lifetime by winning the World Cup, the only trophy he still lacked.
Several challenges still await Messi for the twilight of an already extraordinary career, whether at club level or with Argentina.
Moreover, the discussions for a contract extension (see elsewhere) are likely to reassure Parisian fans as to the motivation of a player who has nothing more to prove, but is still hungry.
Become top scorer in the C1 ahead of Ronaldo
Assuming that Cristiano Ronaldo is done with European football by joining Al-Nassr, Lionel Messi knows what to expect.
The Portuguese sits at the top of the ranking of the top scorers in the history of the Champions League with 141 goals.
The Argentinian is his distant runner-up with 129 achievements in the most prestigious of European cups.
12 goals to catch him, 13 to overtake him: not impossible but “
» has a considerable margin.
Especially since the Pulga does not take penalties in Paris.
Not often anyway… That hasn't stopped him from scoring four times in C1 since the start of the season.
Note that Ronaldo is also the record holder for matches played in the Champions League with 187 appearances, ahead of Iker Casillas (181) and Leo Messi (161).
Here too, Ronaldo has room.
But why not ?
On the other hand, Messi could double his rival this season in the smugglers' classification (42 against 40).
Read alsoLigue 1: PSG recovers Messi and Neymar for Angers, Verratti package and Mbappé still at rest
Win a fifth Champions League
Like everyone in Paris, Messi "
" of winning the Champions League.
This is what the 35-year-old world champion said during his first press conference in Rouge et Bleu.
In fact, he was already trumpeting his dreams about it when he was still wearing the colors of FC Barcelona.
His last coronation in C1, the fourth, dates back to 2015. And Cristiano Ronaldo?
He has won the Big Ears Cup five times.
We imagine that it would not displease Messi to catch up with his eternal rival in this area… Rival whom he will also meet in … Saudi Arabia on January 19, during a gala match between Paris- SG and a selection of players from Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal.
" (Maldini, Costacurta, Di Stefano, Zarraga, Kroos, Benzema, Carvajal, Isco, Modric, Casemiro, Marcelo, Bale, Imaz), only one has six: Real Madrid legend of the 50s-60s Francisco Gento .
Lionel Messi touched the sublime during the 2022 World Cup. KAI PFAFFENBACH / REUTERS
The wall of 100 in selection
If it is a priori far-fetched to imagine him defending his title at the 2026 World Cup, Lionel Messi wants to "
continue to live a few more matches being world champion
", as he said on Argentine television.
Clearly, no international retirement right away for the Paris Saint-Germain player.
Current third top scorer in the national team with 98 goals behind… Cristiano Ronaldo (118) and the Iranian Ali Daei (109), he could already aim for the symbolic bar of 100 goals with the Albiceleste.
Or even climb the global hierarchy in this area?
Note that Messi is also the third most capped player in the national team (172) behind Ronaldo and Kuwaiti Bader Al-Mutawa (196).
Read alsoWorld Cup: Messi, a consecration worthy of Maradona
Pass the 1000 goal mark, like Pelé
The king is dead, long live the king !
Pelé passed away a few weeks ago, he who claimed to be "
top scorer in history
» with 1283 realizations.
A figure that is debating, knowing that some more or less friendly matches have been counted to reach this total.
Leo Messi could in any case join the late Brazilian in the legend by joining the closed club of players with more than 1000 goals.
All inclusive, it is at 793. It will obviously not be easy.
Especially since Messi has more of a role as a passer than a scorer at PSG.
However, it is not forbidden to imagine him investigating the goals in a more exotic championship (MLS?) at the end of his career... Some have also announced (a little hastily), during the World Cup, that an agreement was close to being reached with David Beckham's Inter Miami.
”, we were told at the time.
Read also "The celebrations (of the Argentines), it's not my problem, I don't waste energy in such futile things": Mbappé breaks the silence
Become the most successful player in history ahead of Alves
This is a record much less difficult to achieve.
After winning the World Cup with Argentina, Lionel Messi can claim 42 career trophies.
He is only one less than the most successful man in history, a certain Dani Alves, his former FC Barcelona teammate and one of his predecessors at Paris Saint-Germain.
So don't count on the Argentinian to take Ligue 1 or even the Coupe de France over the leg… Besides, you can't reach Messi's level without having fangs in all matches, all the time , whatever the competition, whatever the context.
By shining in the colors of PSG during the second part of the 2022-23 season, Messi could also get his hands on an eighth Ballon d'Or, he who is already the record holder in the matter.
“There is a real desire at the club to extend Messi”, confirms Galtier
What about Leo Messi's extension?
There are discussions and the management has exchanged with Leo on the subject of an extension.
I don't know where it is
, ”simply indicated Christophe Galtier, Tuesday, at a press conference.
And the Parisian coach added: “
He seems happy to me in Paris but it will be to see his position in relation to the club's project.
There is a real desire at the club to extend Leo but this is a subject that I will not discuss with him.
Luis Campos and the president (Nasser Al-Khelaïfi) exchange directly with Leo and his representatives.
Leo Messi, 35, has signed for two years plus an optional season in 2021.