The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner recounted the struggles he faced in his first season at Paris Saint-Germain.
Lionel Messi has cited struggles to adapt to a new team, his late arrival, knee problems, and COVID-19 as the four reasons behind his difficult start at PSG.
After 21 glorious years at Barcelona, Messi packed his bags and headed for France last summer. He joined PSG on a free transfer, hoping to lead the club’s charge for Champions League success.
But it didn’t pan out that way. While PSG reclaimed the Ligue 1 title, their European dreams ended in a last-16 exit to eventual winners Real Madrid.
Messi, on the other hand, struggled to adapt to football in France. The forward couldn’t reach the level of performance he had shown every week at Barcelona, scoring just 11 times in all competitions.
“I had to get used to a new way of playing because I was used to playing my whole life in one way. You see football differently, with new teammates. In Barcelona, I had teammates that knew me by heart,” the Argentine told TyC Sports.
“On top of that I arrived late at the club, then I had a knock on my knee and between one thing and another, I couldn’t do three or four games in a row. The holidays came and I said ‘I’m going to recharge my batteries, the adjusting time is over’, and then Covid hit me.”
Messi reveals COVID-19 troubles
In January, Messi contracted COVID-19 and experienced common symptoms of the virus – sort throat, cough, and fever – and struggled with respiratory issues afterward.
“The truth is that it hit me very hard,” the 34-year-old said. “It left me with after effects. I couldn’t train. I came back and spent about a month and a half without being able to even run because it had affected my lungs.”
Right now, Messi is preparing for Copa America champions Argentina’s match against Euro 2020 winners Italy in the relaunched Finalissima Super Cup at Wembley on Wednesday.