Lionel Messi never seemed massively happy to sign for PSG, and the feeling is very much becoming mutual.

Every man and his dog knew that Messi would have preferred to remain at Barcelona than head to Paris back in 2021, with his teary farewell press conference in Spain making it abundantly clear.

However, there was a sense that he could find happiness at his new club, leading them to Champions League glory and becoming a hero of the Parc des Princes faithful in the process.

Almost two years on though, that dream looks further than ever from becoming a reality, with both success and support in short supply for the Argentine.

Heading into the match against Rennes, there was plenty of talk of Messi being unhappy at the club with reports emerging of him leaving training early after refusing to take part in an exercise and meeting with Barcelona president Joan Laporta to sound out the possibility of a return to Camp Nou.

Clearly PSG fans had read such reports, because his name was met by some boos when it was read out by the stadium announcer as he ran through the starting XI prior to kick-off.


They were already somewhat unhappy with the man they’d hoped would establish them as one of the best clubs in the world following their defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16, and talk of him not being fully invested had only fanned the flames.

Whether the 35-year-old took notice of the boos or not was unclear, but he played like a man who did as his side fell to a deserved 2-0 defeat.

He was still the home team’s best player going forward – not that that’s saying much given how poor his team-mates were – but he never seemed to get out of second gear, instead simply going through the motions with an air of disinterest.

While he made some excellent passes towards the end, creating a few chances, he often lazily laid the ball off to someone else after receiving it, looking like he couldn’t be bothered to do anything more.

In the entire game, despite the fact that he saw a huge amount of the ball and often had space ahead of him, he attempted just five dribbles, 10 fewer than he did in PSG’s last home game.

He took three fewer shots too, and when the last of them flew harmlessly over the bar in the closing stages, it became obvious that his fans were even unhappier with him now than they were at the start of the match, with his effort being met by even louder boos than those heard a few hours earlier.

There were no doubts about whether Messi’d heard these ones, because while the majority of his team-mates including Kylian Mbappe apologetically applauded the home crowd after the full-time whistle was blown, he went straight down the tunnel.

Messi has never connected with the supporters as much as he had with Barcelona’s, but things had never been this bad before, even following the backlash in response to the team throwing away a first-leg lead against Real Madrid last year.

The fallout comes at a point when both he and the club are deciding whether to prolong their time together, with his current contract expiring at the end of the season.

It’s always been assumed that the Ligue 1 champions will keep hold of him if they can, but with the fans turning on him and Mbappe reportedly pushing to be the star man, they may well start to reconsider.

Ultimately though, it might not matter what the club wants to do, because it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll want to stay put beyond the current campaign.

Where he’ll go is unclear given Barcelona’s financial issues, but one thing is obvious: the French Connection is all but gone.


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