Messi not the Same as Before, Former Poland Manager Says

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By Martin Graham | 5th Apr 2022

Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi is finished according to former manager of the Poland national team Antoni Piechniczek.

Messi has struggled to make any form of impact since his blockbuster move to the French capital after 17 years at Barcelona.

With only two goals in over 20 league games for PSG, it looks like his signing is a bust for PSG, who employ Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as well.

However, Messi has not slowed down on the international stage since the move, extending his lead at the top of all of Argentina’s player records for caps, games, goals, assists and others.

Piechniczek was reacting to Poland being drawn in the same group with Argentina in the 2022 World Cup in an interview with Polish media when he claimed that Messi is finished and cannot hit the same form as his Barcelona form with PSG or the Argentine national team anymore.

“This duel would have been more interesting if Lionel Messi had been five or six years younger,” Piechniczek said.

“Let’s be honest… Messi is now the grandfather of the forest. This is no longer the footballer he was just a few years ago. It is not clear what role he will play in the World Cup in Qatar.”

Piechniczek also suggested that Messi should come off the bench for Argentina in the World Cup based off his current form with PSG.

“It is possible that the coach decides to put him on the bench given the current level of Messi. A role like Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the Swedish team,” Piechniczek added.

“Play the last 15-20 minutes of a match. It can happen that Messi plays a sensational tournament, but seeing how he looks in the colors of Paris Saint-Germain, he is not the same Messi as before.”

Elsewhere, Messi could be reunited with former Barcelona teammate Ousmane Dembele next season.

PSG are reportedly still interested in the Barcelona forward, whose contract runs up in the summer with no progress in renewal talks.

90min reports that PSG is leading the line to sign him, alongside Chelsea and Juventus.

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is a big fan of the player, as he helped reintegrate Dembele into the squad after Barcelona froze him out due to his refusal to discuss renewal terms.

It remains to be seen what becomes of the contract talks, but pending any breakthroughs, Messi and Dembele could be playing together once more.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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