Thierry Henry has defended Lionel Messi’s spell at Paris Saint-Germain, claiming he couldn’t be “the boss” alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
WHAT HAPPENED? Messi failed to live up to expectations during his two-year spell at PSG, and left the club upon the expiration of his contract in June before joining Inter Miami in MLS. While he scored 32 goals in 75 matches, that was way down on the numbers he was chalking up at Barcelona, even in his last few seasons at the club when he was past his peak.
However, Henry has come to the aid of his former Barca team-mate, who was booed by PSG supporters towards the end of his time in France, saying the environment at the Ligue 1 side made it difficult for him to thrive, especially as he had to share the spotlight with Mbappe and Neymar.
WHAT THEY SAID: In an interview with former PSG midfielder Jerome Rothen, Henry was asked if he was disappointed with Messi’s stint in Paris – which yielded three trophies.
He said on RMC Sport: “No, I’ll say why. I remind you 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, organization. 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 BIGGER PICTURE: It says a lot about PSG that they were unable to win the Champions League with Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar, who has since joined Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, playing alongside each other – three all-time greats of the game. Messi was in the autumn years of his career when he moved to the French giants but their inability to win the biggest prize in Europe was not solely down to him. The 36-year-old, who inspired Argentina to 2022 World Cup glory, is currently enjoying a new lease of life at Inter Miami – scoring 11 goals in his first 11 appearances for the club.