Lionel Messi has caused a stir among Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) fans after his recent comments on the “fracture” he experienced with some supporters over his two-year spell at the club.
The Barcelona icon, who had moved to PSG in 2018, was booed and jeered by the PSG faithful after the team’s exits from the Champions League in both seasons. This prompted Messi to speak out about the strained relationship between himself and some of the fans, saying “I think the vast majority still see me and treat me as they did at the beginning, but there was a fracture with a significant group of the Paris fans, which obviously wasn’t my intention, far from it.”
The 35-year old is not alone in facing such dissension from PSG supporters; Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappe and other star players have all faced similar negative attitudes from some members of the crowd. This led many to speculate about why Messi seemed to be particularly unpopular with some of his own team’s supporters during his short stint at PSG.
Some sources say that this could be due to envy; seeing a star like Lionel Messi join their club created an atmosphere of heightened expectations that he couldn’t quite live up to. The frustration grew as disappointment mounted with each passing round of Champions League games without a victory for PSG. It also didn’t help that he chose to wear number 10 – traditionally worn by Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he played for PSG – instead of an alternate jersey number like 23 or 24 seen on other members of this current squad.
In addition, it may also have something to do with how differently Messi would interact with his fellow teammates compared to those before him. While Neymar was known for his extroverted lifestyle off the pitch and flamboyant celebrations following goals scored on it, Messi maintained a more subdued image throughout his time at PSG – one which seemed incompatible with what some supporters were looking for from their star player. Ultimately however, whatever issues caused this rift between Lionel Messi and certain sections of PSG supporters remain unknown; only time will tell if these tensions can be resolved or if they linger on indefinitely into future seasons in France’s Ligue 1 wearing the iconic PSG 23-24 kit.