Lionel Messi appeared for the first time in the ranks of the Paris Saint-Germain team, as he came as a substitute in the 66th minute, when his team did not lead Reims with two goals without a match in the French Premier League.
The Argentine, who wore his new number 30 shirt at Paris Saint-Germain, was received with a standing ovation as he replaced his friend Neymar in front of a large crowd.
This was the first match in Messi’s career for a team other than Barcelona.
“He is still far from his best, but he is training well and he will be fit for the next two weeks,” said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino.
He added, “We are waiting for the best from him. I am very happy that he made his debut. It was very important for him.”
“He was good. One of his first touches gave the team reassurance. It’s good to start winning.”
“It was nice to hear the fans cheering for him, not just our fans, it’s something that Leo has earned.”
Kylian Mbappe scored the two goals in what could be his last appearance for the club, with Real Madrid keen to sign him before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Real Madrid made an offer of 160 million euros to sign the 22-year-old, who has so far scored 135 goals in 175 games with Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappe scored his first goal with a header from Angel Di Maria’s cross, and the second from a cross from Ashraf Hakimi.
“Kilian is our player, and you know that in football and in business there are always rumors and gossip,” Pochettino said.
“I think our president (the club president) and our sporting director have been very clear, and he’s still here. I’m really happy to have Kylian.”
“He is one of the best players and one of the most important players in the world today, and having him with us is a gift.”
But the headlines will be about the 34-year-old Messi, who joined the match moments after the second goal.
Tickets for the match were resold around 6000 euros, after Reims sold more than 20,000 tickets for the match, while before Messi signed only about 6000 were sold.
Ticket-buyers may have been disappointed to see Messi on the bench, but he was given a standing ovation as he warmed up, with fans chanting his name and even more cheering as he took to the field.
Messi played some great passes and also made many mistakes. However, he had few touches in the penalty area but no shot opportunities.
“He brings calm to the team,” Pochettino said. “His energy and optimism are reflected in the rest of the team.”
Messi missed the first matches of Paris Saint-Germain, since his free transfer after leaving Barcelona. This was his first match since winning the Copa America with Argentina last July.
Messi joined Barcelona when he was 13 years old, and scored a record 672 goals in 778 games for the club.
The Argentine has won six Golden Balls – also a record – and is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time.