Lionel Messi dropped one of his finest performances for Paris Saint-Germain to date on Saturday night.
It’s no secret that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner hasn’t found life to be plain-sailing at the Parc des Princes, but you wouldn’t have known that was the case based on his performance against Montpellier.
And it was the trait that Messi has been criticised for the most this season that he excelled in during the Ligue 1 clash this weekend: goalscoring.
A tough year for Messi
Going into the clash at the Mosson Stadium, the 34-year-old had only scored four league goals for PSG across the entire campaign, which is a monumental drop off compared to his Barcelona statistics.
It’s no wonder that so many supporters were poking fun at the Messi’s paltry tally when you consider that his final three seasons at Camp Nou saw 36, 25 and 30-goal hauls in the league.
However, the signs of improvements were there for everyone to see when Messi notched his first brace in France’s premier division during the champions’ emphatic 4-0 victory.
Messi scores twice vs Montpellier
And it was the Argentina superstar who got the party started when he rounded off a slick team move by finding the bottom corner with a sweeping left-footed finish past Dimitry Bertaud.
Then, the footballing icon outdid himself by latching on to Kylian Mbappe’s stunning outside-of-the-boot pass to round the goalkeeper like it was nothing and tap home into the empty net.
But alas, Messi’s goalscoring exploits were merely the top-line statistics in a performance that was impressive across the board, earning him an almost perfecting rating of 9.9 out of 10 on SofaScore.
Messi’s individual highlights
The data gurus rated Messi as the best player on the pitch with two goals, four key passes, four dribbles completed, one big chance created, 92 touches and a passing accuracy of 89%.
The moral of the story is that Messi gave a performance of the likes we’ve simply seen far too infrequently at PSG despite seeming to pop up week in, week out during his time at Barcelona.
And given that Messi isn’t getting any younger at 34 years old, we implore you to watch him turning on the style by checking out one of his finest highlights packages since signing for PSG down below:
Now that’s the Messi we know and love.
Exactly what we’ve missed
There’s something that just feels right about seeing Messi floating around the pitch like the footballing assassin that we’ve all come to love: always looking as though he’s only ever seconds away from a goal or assist.
Yes, there has still been a lot to love about Messi’s playmaking this season and yes, the iconic dribbles have still popped up from time to time, but there’s simply been an absence of, well, an X factor… a certain je ne sais quoi.
And while we wouldn’t go as far as to say that Messi suddenly rediscovered that against Montpellier, it did indeed represent a performance that made us realise what we’d missed in his displays this season.
You could just sense that air of lethality and directness in Messi’s game that was no doubt jump-started again by – at the expense of stating the obvious – finding the back of the net so easily.
It might have all transpired against a team beached in the lower half of the table, but if that’s the circumstances under which Messi truly gets his PSG career started, then it’s the fans who are the real winners.