Sunday 29 August 2021 is a date destined to enter the history of Ligue 1. Psg played and won 2-0 at Reims, the undisputed star of the match was Kylian Mbappé with a brace, but the reality is that of very few have noticed all this – Mbappé himself, perhaps Pochettino and a few others. Everyone, all over the world, had eyes for only one thing: Leo Messi’s debut with the third jersey of his career after wearing those of Barcelona and the Argentine national team. The event materialized at minute 66 ‘, a few seconds after Mbappé’s doubling: Pochettino recalled Neymar to the bench and put Messi in his place. Already during the warm-up, the game had practically stopped waiting for his entry into the field.
As mentioned, it was a historic moment for Ligue 1, for football in general. Messi, in fact, was greeted with a general and generalized ovation, without distinction of footballing faith: even the Reims fans, crowded in the stands of the Stade Auguste-Delaune, applauded the Argentine champion. On the pitch, Messi did not show anything truly transcendental: many intelligent touches, a few velvety stops and a couple of ball-and-foot accelerations, but it is clear that the physical condition and the understanding with his new teammates will need to be refined in the next weeks. In addition, the welcome of the Reims defenders was not as warm and jovial as that of the fans: despite playing just half an hour, Messi was the player who suffered more fouls than all those who took to the field for the match (3) and on other occasions he has suffered even forbidden blows on which the referee has flown over giving the advantage. In short, the expectation and emotion of the Reims players, if there were any, turned into fear, and finally into aggression.
But only until the final whistle, however: after the referee closed the match, in fact, the goalkeeper of Reims Pedrag Rajkovic asked Leo to take a photo with his son, a child who will have little more or a little less than a year; all his teammates went to greet him, to get to know him closely; seconds later, Messi himself was invited to sign a banner prepared for him by the home fans to welcome him to France, and he didn’t hold back. For once, in short, Messi gave an indirect show: the respect and admiration of the opponents were manifested in the purest and most joyful way, somehow the images of the debut managed to return the excitement generated by his I arrive in Paris, France, in Ligue 1. Waiting to see the first magic on the pitch, which will not be long in coming. Below, here is the video of Messi taking a photo of himself with Rajkovic’s son, and then signing the welcome banner for Reims fans: