At the Tolosa Stadium,
There were no surprises this Wednesday night in Toulouse. PSG, champions of Ligue 1, dominated the champions of Ligue 2, who nevertheless defended their skin very well in an incandescent stadium (0-3). The TFC has been doing better than resisting for a long time, thanks to an aggressive tactic developed by Philippe Montanier: “We had to close the axis by controlling the pistons, deciphers the promoted coach. Have a three-way defense [Rouault-Nicolaisen-Diarra] It allowed the centrals to come out very high. »
But the talent finally spoke and the goalkeeper Maxime Dupé, stratospheric with his nine saves, was ironic in the mixed zone when he was told that the good game of the violets, however, had ended in a clear defeat. “Are we the ones who are not at the level or are they too strong for Ligue 1? »
For Lionel Messi, the question is quickly answered. It’s no wonder to see a seven-time Ballon d’Or unlock a match (courtesy of VAR) of opening love for a Neymar on fire from the start of the season, after a nice combination with Marco Verratti and Kylian Mbappé (38th). Except that the former Barcelona idol’s first year in Paris had reason to doubt the character of the second. The balance was far from infamous for a 34-year-old striker (he has been 35 since June): 11 goals (including 6 in L1) and 15 assists in 34 games in all competitions.
Acceleration as in the beautiful Catalan era
But, beyond the statistics, the contrast was clear with his best Catalan years, between an often questionable body language and a propensity to walk, not new, but which had clearly increased. To the point of sometimes giving the impression that PSG had signed Yoann Diniz’s Argentine cousin, instead of the elusive Camp Nou goblin. To tell the truth, we no longer believed the Albiceleste captain capable of a thrust like the one that allowed him to launch, from a perfectly finished center, a new offering, this time to Mbappé, in the second Parisian goal (50th).
The “MNM”? We can only be satisfied with his performances: Ney and Kilian score, Messi offers two assists”, Christophe Galtier savored afterwards, who knows that he has a rare and explosive cocktail on his hands, which must be handled with extreme caution. The Argentine had put on a grimace that inspired Twitter during his departure on Sunday, against Monaco (1-1). If he was substituted again at the Stadium (by Hakimi in ’83) after seeing Dupé prevent him from improving his statistics despite some exquisite initiatives, it is rather the image of a Neymar not delighted-delighted with doubling the shoots from 68′ that we will remember
“No one is happy to go out, but I thought after a very good game from him, it was the right time for Ney, he takes Galtier down. Same for Leo. They are informed and it is also a way to make our staff exist. Of course, we will not know what Messi thought of his replacement.
With Marco Verratti (also very good this Wednesday), he was one of the first Parisians to cross the mixed zone of Toulouse dare, without saying a word, to get on the bus on the esplanade, in front of a crowd that shouted his name and in the that there were not only PSG supporters. Ditto for the dozen or so people who stood in front of our press box, phones in hand, when Galtier called one of the greatest players of all time to the bench. You never know: the “Flea” could have given his only recital at the Stadium.
The Ballon d’Or snub
With three goals and four assists in five games, Messi seems headed for a season that lives up to his rank, having already finished the previous one in style with his national team. Insufficient to escape the snub, since he was not, logically, in the list of the 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or. A good World Cup together with a long career in the Champions League would allow him to wash the affront next year. And if he can delight us passing through the stadiums of our Ligue 1 friendlies before returning to Barcelona or crossing the Atlantic, we will also take it, of course.
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