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Lionel Messi Slammed for Missed Penalty Against Real Madrid in UCL Tie

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By Martin Graham | 22nd Feb 2022

Lionel Messi has come under fire for his missed penalty in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League fixture between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has not had it easy since moving to France after 17 years in Barcelona, scoring only two league goals and seven goals overall in 22 total appearances for the French giants.

His assists record, however, is slightly better as he has provided nine assists (all in the league) for PSG. That figure puts him in the top five playmakers in Ligue 1 this season, and with a goalscoring machine like Kylian Mbappe and very good headers of the ball like captain Marquinhos, Messi could well take home the prize at the end of the season.

However, his reputation for goalscoring has greatly suffered leading to the huge backlash he is currently receiving from prominent figures.

After his penalty miss last Tuesday, France legend Emmanuel Petit said on RMC Sport of the Argentine’s performance: “I feel genuine pain when I watch Messi on the pitch.

“We all want him to succeed, to take our hand and tell us a story like he told thousands in Barcelona.

“I don’t want to pit Messi against Mbappé. But for several months, we have been witnessing the death of one king and the rise of another.”

He has now come under fresh fire from former PSG winger Jerome Rothen who labelled him a burden and slammed PSG’s decision to sign the 34-year old.

“He is a burden for the club. His first months have not been good and the relationship between Lionel Messi and PSG has been far from a success.

“This transfer was a bad idea. He is the best player, perhaps, of all generations that football has known. Still, I’m sick of hearing people say you can’t criticise Messi.

“If you don’t win the match, you have a huge frustration because Messi misses the penalty (vs Real Madrid). A player like Messi, with the status he has, it is tragic for him to miss a penalty, that’s the reality, even if it can happen to anyone.

“But him, compared to what he has been bringing to PSG for seven months, he has no right to complain.”

Video emerges of PSG teammate fuming at Messi

While Messi’s 16 goal contributions for PSG in 22 games is a decent return, the Argentine’s ridiculously high standards have not been met at the club.

As he contends with the fact that he is not producing the returns he is used to, he now has to deal with another incident that has gone viral on social media.

A video clip from the round of 16 UCL fixture in which Messi lost a penalty has emerged of midfielder Danilo Pereira fuming at Messi for not tracking back, leading to his having to commit a yellow-card foul to stop an attempt on goal from Vinicius Jr.

Messi lost the ball by the corner flag and in his usual fashion, left the defensive duties to the rest of his teammates as Madrid started a counterattack.

Danilo had to perform a last-ditch sliding tackle to bring down the young Brazilian, an action which saw him correctly yellow carded by the referee. The Portuguese midfielder immediately turned to Messi to express his displeasure vehemently at the circumstances surrounding the incident as Messi quietly looked on.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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