news Lionel Messi’s miserable Ligue 1 start continued in midweek, with Lorient midfielder Thomas Monconduit claiming sides think Paris Saint-Germain are more beatable when it is Kylian Mbappe and Neymar out of the team. – News Sport Update

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Lionel Messi’s miserable Ligue 1 start continued in midweek, with Lorient midfielder Thomas Monconduit claiming sides think Paris Saint-Germain are more beatable when it is Kylian Mbappe and Neymar out of the team.

The Argentine was expected to dominate what many perceived as a weaker league after he made his stunning switch from Barcelona in the summer.

And while PSG are coasting to the French title – 13 points clear of their nearest rival – Messi in particular has flattered to deceive.

In 11 Ligue 1 games, the Argentine icon has found the net on just one occasion, with the majority of his goals coming in the Champions League.

In fact, his tally of just a single goal in 865 minutes of domestic football is the least productive first half of a season in his entire career.

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But Mauro Icardi spared PSG blushes by scoring a goal in injury time to ensure their record remains at just one defeat in the league this term.

And Lorient’s Monconduit suggested his side were dismayed at only picking up one point, citing PSG’s lack of speed and creativity when Messi is without the rest of his forward department.

“If we’d been told at the start of the match that we were going to finish at 1-1, we would’ve been happy,” Monconduit told Amazon Prime.

“But given the scenario of the match, it’s true, we’re frustrated. We had a lot of openings, we could’ve killed off the match but we finished poorly.

Messi’s standards drop in 2021

n a year which saw Lionel Messi swap Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain after another brilliant season at the Camp Nou, his impact in the French capital is not what was expected of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

The prospect of forming a super strike-force with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe hasn’t yet come to fruition, and Messi himself is in the midst of his worst season, stats wise, of his career.

As yet, the 34-year-old has bagged a goal every 865 minutes in Ligue 1 – his only goal in the French top flight. And even when looking at his first campaign with Barcelona, there is a clear drop in output.

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During the 2004/05 season, Messi got one goal over the 75 minutes he played, and then the following year he averaged one goal every 155 minutes in LaLiga Santander.

Despite his somewhat poor domestic form this season, Messi has been PSG’s inspiration in the Champions League, with five goals in the group stage which helped the Parisian’s qualify for the knockout round.

Don’t count him out
Messi though, especially at this stage in his career, shouldn’t be judged on his goals alone. In fact, he almost always manages to influence the game somewhat, and in Ligue 1 he has had a hand in five goals, including a hat-trick of assists against Saint-Etienne.

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Of course, this is all under the caveat that Messi is adapting to a new life in a new city, which itself brings multiple issues. Coupled with the stop start nature of the initial part of a campaign – thanks to the international breaks – Messi hasn’t yet been able to get into a rhythm.

That said, Messi is confident that in 2022, once he is completely adapted to life in Paris and with PSG, he can inspire his teammates to domestic and European glory as they look to win their maiden Champions League.

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PSG. Leonardo: PSG knew Sergio Ramos had injuries…
PSG. Leonardo: There’s still a good chance Mbappe will sign a new contract at PSG
Paris Saint-Germain became even more envied last summer when they signed both Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi, adding to their already stacked squad which contained both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, however all these elements have contributed to a broken dressing room.

The Parisian club have always walked the fine line ever since the Qatari takeover of adding superstar names but avoiding any major inner conflict, until now.

On paper having a team that includes Messi, Neymar, Mbappe and Angel Di Maria would be perfect for any coach, but even Mauricio Pochettino has publicly bemoaned the amount of man management he must get through before even beginning his tactical work.

L’Equipe has posted a story on Tuesday which details just how fractured the PSG dressing room has become of late, with internal tensions and divided cliques within the squad contributing to an almost nightmarish scenario.

It all starts in goal
One of the first sticking points of the season came when Gianluigi Donnarumma arrived on a Bosman deal, despite Keylor Navas already being present at the club.

Keylor accepted this challenge in a sporting way and both players decided to sign a pact to compete for the starting spot, whilst the coaching staff wanted to rotate the pair every three matches.

This is where the problems started with Donnarumma’s entourage beginning to publicly question Pochettino’s strategy.

Mbappe’s renewal seems further away than ever
The newspaper describes a clear split in the camp between the French players and the South American stars, and also how this is impacting Mbappe’s continuity.

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The lack of stability in the dressing room is not convincing Mbappe to stay with the club, and he isn’t thinking of renewing at this point.

Neymar’s attitude
Neymar’s attitude has already been questioned at the beginning of the season, with the Brazilian not considered completely comfortable with his new role within the team.

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Neymar se recupera en casa… pero la gente alucina con un detalle de su cocina
He didn’t appear for a mandatory signing ceremony with some of the club’s sponsors, which angered PSG’s management to the point where heavy sanctions against the Brazilian were considered.

Partying… with permission
Another of the problems within the Parisian club’s dressing room is the recognised different privileges between some players and others.

In the report two unnamed South American players turned up to the club’s training session visibly tired after spending the previous night partying, and both refused to start working without waiting for the approval of the coaching staff.

After Messi won the Ballon d’Or, he booked a select club to celebrate and several of his teammates attended, but the next day both Messi and Leandro Paredes missed training due to gastroenteritis symptoms, which annoyed their colleagues who demanded a stronger response from Pochettino and Leonardo.

Neymar responds to Messi, Paredes, Di Maria for bragging Copa America photo
The three had fun at their teammate’s expense

Paredes’ photo
Paredes’ photo
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18/12/2021 – 22:49
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Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria, and Lionel Messi have been hanging out to watch television and drink mate in Paris, while also managing to get under the skin of Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar.

The three Argentines posed for a photo shared on Paredes’ Instagram account, all together in one of their living rooms, with the Copa America trophy by their side.

Their Brazilian PSG teammate, though, was less than pleased when he opened his app to see the photo, commenting ‘putos’ under the photo as an insult to Messi, Di Maria, and Paredes.

Aston Villa and Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez also commented, joining in with the fun.

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“What a casual photo,” he wrote. “Angel, put more water on the mate.”

Giovani Lo Celso commented with a series of flame emojis.

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