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PSG president makes bold Lionel Messi prediction after debut season struggles

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PSG president makes bold Lionel Messi prediction after debut season struggles
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Lionel Messi ’s high-profile summer transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last year has not gone to plan but Nasser Al-Khelaifi is confident his form will improve.

PSG president makes bold Lionel Messi prediction after debut season struggles

Lionel Messi

The PSG president has insisted that the club fully expect to see the “best version of Messi ever” next campaign and anticipate considerable improvement from the Argentina superstar, whose difficult opening season in the French capital saw him find the net just six times in 27 league appearances.

 

Messi, 34, was unable to prevent PSG’s Champions League round-of-16 exit against Real Madrid – seeing his first-leg penalty saved by Thibaut Courtois. The Ligue 1 match which followed the humiliation, when PSG clashed with Bordeaux, saw Messi and teammate Neymar booed by PSG fans.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has failed to live up to his billing in Paris to date, scoring 11 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions last term. Recent reports have indicated that Messi is unhappy as he has failed to settle in the city and at the club for multiple reasons, with the potential of cutting short his two-year contract at the club. By comparison, he managed 38 goals during his final term at the Camp Nou.

Also: Neymar’s former agent responds to transfer rumours and makes statement on PSG future

Despite his lack of proficiency in front of goal, Messi did weigh in with a notable 14 assists in Ligue 1 as his side cantered to the league title. There were signs in the second half of the campaign that the Argentine was starting to link up much better with Kylian Mbappe, who frequently made perfectly-timed runs from Messi’s deliveries.

Mbappe has since opted to sign a three-year contract extension with the Ligue 1 champions, keeping him in his hometown until 2025. That deal ensured he would not be joining Real Madrid on a free transfer this summer, as many had expected – with suggestions that he had given his word to the Spanish giants that he would be joining them this year.

PSG chief Al-Khelaifi has now struck a bullish tone on Messi’s form and is confident his output will improve next season. He told Le Parisien : “There is no doubt that Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times, and it was not his best season.

“But after more than 20 years in Barcelona, he discovered a new country, a new city, a new league, a new team. A new culture. As well as his family, and he was injured also by the coronavirus. It was not easy for Messi last season, but next season we will see the best version of Messi ever.”

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