Lionel Messi speaks to reporters at Barcelona Airport
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Lionel Messi cut a dejected figure during Barcelona’s 4-1 Champions League defeat to PSG. And reports in Spain suggest players within the club sympathised with the Argentina international after the game. The forward could leave the Nou Camp behind when the transfer window reopens this summer, with the Ligue 1 titans and Manchester City keen to secure his signature.
Messi gave Barcelona the lead against PSG, with the South American scoring his 20th goal of the campaign from the penalty spot.
However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side then ran riot.
Kylian Mbappe was the star of the show, bagging a hat-trick to upstage Messi, while Moise Keane was also on target.
It was yet another agonising humbling for Barcelona, who have previously been thumped by Roma, Liverpool and Bayern Munich on the European stage.
And Catalan newspaper Sport claim Barcelona players were ‘broken’ after the match against Pochettino’s side, feeling sorry for Messi over his disappointment.
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The 33-year-old could barely greet compatriots such as Mauro Icardi and Leandro Paredes.
And it’s claimed even the vocal Gerard Pique was stunned into silence, with Barcelona’s hopes of Champions League glory hanging by a thread.
They came back to beat PSG 6-1, after losing the first leg 4-0, when the two sides lock horns back in 2017.
But this Barcelona isn’t the same and it’s possible Messi may have now played his last Champions League game at the Nou Camp, with talk of a potential move away still ongoing.
Manchester City are eager to recruit the 33-year-old, with Pep Guardiola keen on a reunion.
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However, they’ve insisted they’re yet to make a move to sign Messi despite some publications suggesting otherwise.
PSG are also in the mix, though, with the Ligue 1 titans dreaming of reuniting the Argentina star with Neymar.
And what ultimately happens with Messi remains to be seen, especially with Barcelona still refusing to rule out a stay.
Meanwhile, Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman admitted his side were poor against PSG – insisting Pochettino’s men were far superior in every department.
“Surely the result reflects how superior they have been,” he said.
“In the second half we had problems defensively. They proved physically to be very superior to us.
“We have to admit that they have been superior. They have shown that they have a more complete team than us. We have to accept it, improve things.
“We know that this can happen because we play against a great team, a physical team, with experience… for many things that is ahead of us.
“A 4-1 defeat is normally very difficult. I can lie to you but losing at home 4-1 there are very few options.
“The game has shown us that we lack things to be at the best level, especially at the Champions League level.”
Pochettino, meanwhile, has called on his players to be careful of Barcelona launching a comeback in the second leg of their tie.
“There are ninety minutes left. We are happy with the result but there is still a lot to do. We have to be careful with Barca,” he said.
He also opened up on Neymar, who missed the match through injury.
“Neymar is very excited to be able to play against Barca, but the most important thing is his physical well-being, that he is healthy and well and the evolution will be the time that the injury needs,” he continued.
“If it can be recovered as soon as possible, for the team much better.”
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