Messi’s performance at PSG fell short of expectations during his two-year tenure, leading to his departure when his contract expired in June.
He subsequently joined Inter Miami in MLS. Despite scoring 32 goals in 75 matches, these numbers were significantly lower than what he had achieved at Barcelona, even during his later years at the club when he was past his prime.
Nevertheless, Thierry Henry has come to the defense of his former Barcelona teammate. Messi faced challenges at PSG, including criticism from fans who even booed him towards the end of his time in France. Henry explained that the environment at the Ligue 1 club made it difficult for Messi to excel, especially given the presence of other star players like Mbappe and Neymar.
During an interview with former PSG midfielder Jerome Rothen, Henry was asked if he was disappointed with Messi’s stint in Paris, despite it resulting in three trophies.
He said on RMC Sport: “No, I’ll say why. I remind you that when I arrived at the beginning, on Amazon, I said, ‘For me to play this team, it’s a headache’. I was once again talking about structure, and organisation. I know you’re going to laugh again, but how do you play with all three (Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe) at the same time?”
Rothen then asked: “They could still do better, they could be a little more invested, right? It’s just in his behaviour.”
Henry retorted: “I can’t say that. For what? Because it happened to me. When he (Messi) played with the Argentina team, a structure. There are not three Messis, just him. You put him in a framework where he alone is the boss, [and he will shine]. But at some point, I’ll tell you something: I left Arsenal. This is something super important. I cried when I left Arsenal for Barca. It took me a year to realize that I had left Arsenal, in fact.”
The fact that PSG couldn’t secure a Champions League victory despite having Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar, who has now moved on to play for Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, in their lineup is quite telling.
These three players are undoubtedly among the all-time greats of the sport. While Messi joined PSG in the later stages of his career, their failure to clinch the prestigious European title cannot be solely attributed to him.
Messi, who is 36 years old, played a pivotal role in leading Argentina to World Cup glory in 2022. Currently, he is experiencing a rejuvenation of his career at Inter Miami, where he has made an impressive start by scoring 11 goals in his initial 11 appearances for the club.