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Lionel Messi snubbed by PSG for penalty in favour of Neymar during home debut

Lionel Messi did not have the home debut to remember for Paris Saint-Germain as he was denied the opportunity to take a penalty the side were awarded in the 66th minute, with Neymar being chosen instead.

Ligue 1 leaders PSG fielded Messi in the starting line-up, playing behind Kylian Mbappe with Neymar and Ángel Di María on either side of him.

But the Argentine superstar missed out on the chance to score after Malo Gusto’s foul was handed to Neymar to take.

The Brazilian buried the spot-kick to make the score 1-1 and cancel out the opener scored by Lucas Paquetá, and just ten minutes later Messi was taken off by Mauricio Pochettino, making for a goalless home debut for the 34-year-old.

Neymar celebrates a goal with Lionel Messi
Neymar continued on penalty duties despite it being Lionel Messi’s home PSG debut

In stoppage time Mauro Icardi converted to give PSG all three points at the Parc des Princes – but question marks still remain over Messi, who cut a frustrated figure when he departed the pitch.

This incident somewhat echoes the problems PSG had with Neymar a few seasons back when he wanted to take over penalty responsibility from Edinson Cavani, a veteran striker.

Mauricio Pochettino had warned following the French side’s 1-1 draw with Club Brugge in the Champions League midweek that gelling of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe would take time.

“It requires time for them to shine together,” Pochettino said via ESPN. “It requires work. I had made it clear that we’re not a team yet, we have to work for this.”

The former Tottenham manager had talked about Messi in the days that followed his transfer completion to Paris and admitted that he “didn’t think it was possible” that Messi would put pen to paper with the club.

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Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino gestures during a press conference
Mauricio Pochettino decided to take off Messi

“I didn’t think it was possible [that he would sign for us], and when an opportunity appears and everything goes so fast, you can’t immediately process it,’ Pochettino told UEFA’s official website.

“However, there’s that connection: we both are Argentinian, we both support Newell’s [Old Boys], we both come from Rosario.

“I have also admired him for a long time when facing him as an opponent, so having him now training with us is really nice. We hope that, together, we will be able to achieve what the club desires.’

“He will always be considered among the best in the world. Since he arrived, he has really adapted very quickly and he’s been training very well, trying to achieve his highest level as soon as possible to compete at his best.

PSG’s 2-1 win over Lyon sees them remain top of Ligue 1, with 18 points out of a possible 18.

Lionel Messi snubbed by PSG for penalty in favour of Neymar during home debut
Anurag Reddy
I'm a 29-year-old travel enthusiast, travel and nature photographer, Computer Science graduate, and Mass Communication student. I have seen different shades of life through traveling and lived different lives through reading. With every word I write, I travel within, and I understand myself better. Writing helps me discover myself, and that paved roads for me to choose writing as a profession.


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