Messi smiling. Happy. A typical postcard from his arrival at PSG
He arrived in Paris and generated a revolution, but he did not propose any changes or impose drastic conditions with the air of a divo. Quite the contrary. Since Lionel Messi arrived at Paris-Saint Germain (PSG), he has handled himself as one more in a squad full of stars and has shown himself to be a leader off the field of play, that place where everyone expects to see him this Sunday when his team visit Reims for the fourth date of Ligue 1 in France.
In a few hours, Leo went from tears at his farewell to Barcelona to a smile that has been engraved on his face since he landed in the City of Light. At the same airport he was seen to be happy that Tuesday, August 10, when he arrived to sign his two-year contract. From that moment he began a communion with the entire Parisian environment, which became his new home.
He looks relaxed, relieved. Perhaps his first title at the senior level with the Argentine team meant taking off a heavy backpack, but not because of the criticism of his detractors, but because of his need, feeling and firm conviction to lift a cup with the Albiceleste, where in the last two years accompanied the transition with the new generation since Lionel Scaloni took over. Even in the last few hours it transpired that he shouldered the position so that all his teammates could play the South American Qualifiers despite the refusals in England, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
The Rosario crack is seen with another poise. He demonstrates why he is a positive and natural leader. He’s a benchmark because he’s the best on the planet, but he doesn’t need to claim the captaincy. He began to infect the rest in training and it is something that some of his teammates have already begun to highlight.
The day of its presentation in society. He was applauded at the Parc des Princes (REUTERS / Sarah Meyssonnier)
Each image that transcends from the French capital shows a smiling Messi, with another imprint. It is true that he wanted to stay at Barcelona, but this change of scenery was good for him. The most earthly version of a player from another planet is noticeable. 17 days have passed since he began his rage, and in this time six of his gestures can be highlighted.
1. I deal with the fans. Since he got off the plane he put on the Parisian chip and began to put people in his pocket with that white shirt with black letters that said “This is Paris.” At the airport he greeted a crowd and then multiplied his popular fervor every second with marked gestures. At the hotel where he is staying, despite being tired, he went out on the balcony and greeted the fans.
Then the ritual was repeated when he signed his contract and was officially presented. Thousands of people welcomed him in the vicinity of the Parc des Princes, PSG’s stadium. In the first home game he received a standing ovation from the public that blew up the stands. He just arrived and they already love him. He hasn’t played a minute yet, but the adoration is total. And Leo toasted with the people.
2. No whims. He is one more on campus. He hopes to be able to move with his family to a house as soon as possible, but he accompanied this transition in the best way. He did not demand any leave or ask to delay his start in training. He focused on working to get him in the best physical shape since his last match was on July 10 in the Copa América final.
3. Relationship with peers. Many wondered what was going to happen to Sergio Ramos, with whom he had a run-in in the classics against Real Madrid. The defender also arrived as a free player at PSG. But Leo barely arrived at the gym, he went to greet his classmates one by one and he was even seen smiling with the Spanish.
The same with his friend Mauro Icardi, with whom he gave an affectionate hug and due to the striker’s shoulder injury, they will not be able to be together again in the National Team, at least in this triple date of the Qualifiers.
And beyond what happens with Kylian Mbappé, he also looked for the French crack as recognizing his place. If the Gallic attacker is transferred, he was able to check Leo’s good attitude.
He will wear the shirt with number 30 and did not enter into any controversy with his teammates
4. T-shirt. In line with this description, and beyond the fact that his friend Neymar offered him the number 10, Messi respected the Brazilian and rejected it. But it went beyond his bond; he wanted to give the message that he does not come to take anything away from anyone.
In that sense, he did not “stole” the 19 from the Spanish Pablo Sarabia. Leo used that number in his beginnings at Barcelona and also in the Argentine team.
Without entering into conflicts, he took the number 30 that belonged to the fourth goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier, who has not yet made his debut in official competitions with the Parisians. That number is very special for the 34-year-old from Rosario as it was the one he wore when he made his debut for Barcelona.
5. Commitment. In the last training session this Thursday, Messi arrived two hours earlier. He and Rafinha were the first to arrive at the venue. He is very involved in the daily work and that is also leadership. His teammates see an attitude of sacrifice and if the best of all makes it clear how important physical preparation is, the effect on the rest is that they cannot give anything away.
The Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas himself confirmed this when he recounted “the great person” that Leo is. “I knew him from the times we had played against each other but now that we share time he is super nice because I see that he is someone humble, simple and hard-working. He has a gift that God gave him that is different from everyone else, but in training he works hard and that motivates us a lot”, he highlighted.
He looks very involved in training and on Thursday he arrived two hours earlier. In the picture with his friend Neymar (REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol)
6. It transmits illusion. Since his introduction he made it clear that he is in a team with which he can fight for important things. “I know that my goals and the goals of Paris are the same,” she said. He knows that with this squad he can compete for the Champions League title, that star that PSG longs for so much.
Their testimonials are not tribunes since Leo doesn’t need it. But that is also leadership: transmitting faith to his people, so that they believe in his team beyond their own names. Messi always showed it on a playing field, but prior to his debut in the French cast, he made it clear that he did not go to Paris on vacation. He is still hungry for glory beyond his 35 titles with Barcelona in 17 years.
Being able to be champion with another shirt represents his greatest challenge at club level. It is noted in force and nobody doubts that Messi still has a lot to give. He began to be a leader in the locker room because of his work and surely soon he will be on the court. Because a true leader is one who builds by example and Leo has done so since he set foot in the French capital.