Lionel Messi doesn’t necessarily make Paris Saint-Germain a better team, John Barnes said on talkSPORT, with the Liverpool legend questioning the Barcelona icon’s move to the French capital.
PSG were held to a 1-1 draw by Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday, despite Messi making his first start for his new club alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Instead of the trio of superstars, boss Mauricio Pochettino had to thank defensive midfielder Ander Herrera, after the former Manchester United man’s fourth goal of the season helped PSG return from Belgium with a point.
The Champions League clash was Messi’s first start since leaving Barcelona and aside from hitting the bar, it has been well organized by the hosts’ defense.
And Barnes insists PSG are not stronger with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner in their squad, believing his arrival could upset the team’s balance and upset Mbappe, which the club are facing. in a fight to keep his contract. will expire next summer.
Barnes told Thursday’s talkSPORT Breakfast: “Messi was so dominant in the Barcelona squad for so many years that all of a sudden when you take him out they’re just a shadow of them- same without Messi.
“But Paris Saint-Germain will be interesting this season because I don’t necessarily think Messi is going to make them stronger.
“When you think of Mbappe and Neymar, now all of a sudden you’ve brought in someone else who will dominate these two, you really want to give Mbappe his lead and he’s not happy now.
“I don’t think Messi at PSG is necessarily a good decision.”
Another former Liverpool star, Michael Owen, agreed with Barnes’ verdict but went further saying that PSG are actually WEAKER with Messi in the squad.
The former England striker said on BT Sport on Wednesday night: “As much as we drool over them, this PSG team with these forwards, they are all phenomenal players in their own right.
“But these three together make him weaker for me and I don’t really understand why they’re one of the favorites for that. [the Champions League].
“I think the English teams [Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Man Utd] are far, far superior.
“I almost feel like signing people like [Gianluigi] Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos give them more chances to win than signing someone like Messi.
After Herrera’s opener, Hans Vanaken pulled off the deserved equalizer for Brugge, who insisted aggressively throughout the game.
Mbappe only lasted 51 minutes after being injured, with Messi, 34, struggling to make up for the absence of the France international and the anonymity of Neymar.
The Samba star had no impact on the game as Phillippe Clement’s side actually finished the game with more shots (16) than their prestigious Parisian counterparts (9).
Despite a significantly greater possession of the ball, the Ligue 1 team was equaled by their Belgian opponents in the attacking thirds.
However, Pochettino’s team were not clinical when key opportunities presented themselves, which will make this result more difficult to take.
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