Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has described Lionel Messi as “indisputable” while insisting the 34-year-old has made an “incredible” start to life in France.
Messi left Barcelona in June, with the Spanish club unable to tie him down to fresh terms amid their financial crisis.
The Argentine, who established himself among the greatest players in history at Camp Nou, joined PSG on a free transfer but has not been able to show his best form at Parc des Princes yet.
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It has been suggested Messi has struggled to adapt to the intensity of Ligue 1 in the first half of the 2021-22 campaign, but Leonardo has jumped to the defense of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“Lionel Messi is indisputable for me,” the PSG chief told Europe 1. “If you start to discuss Messi, it is because you did not understand anything about football. We cannot doubt.
“If you look at Messi’s numbers, his first six months are incredible. He and Kylian Mbappe have been involved in almost every club goal. He is defining and decisive.
“We haven’t acquired Messi to put on a show every time. With him, of course we are more competitive. He can decide every game.”
Messi’s perceived lack of effort without the ball has also been a talking point this season, with pundits noticing he tends to walk back when PSG lose possession.
However, Leonardo claims the ex-Barcelona captain has always played the same way and does not see any reason to adjust a winning formula.
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“Who says he has to run 12 kilometers in every game? He’s been playing the same way for 20 years. It changes when you have other players next to you,” he added.
“He’s adaptable because he’s a genius, and the other geniuses we have are going to adapt to him. “
Messi’s start at PSG
Messi has appeared in 15 games across all competitions for PSG to date, scoring six goals while also providing five assists.
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The Argentina international has been hampered by niggling fitness issues though, and has only recorded one goal in Ligue 1 as his best displays have been saved for the Champions League.
Messi was given a rest for PSG’s French Cup win over Feignies on Sunday but will be back in contention for a place in Mauricio Pochettino’s line-up when they resume their Ligue 1 schedule away at Lorient in midweek.