Lionel Messi snubbed a handshake from PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino after being substituted with 15 minutes to go in tonight’s match with Lyon at the Parc de Princes.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was close to opening his account for his new employers on several occasions throughout the match. In the first half, he was denied after a brilliant break by Neymar and also hit the woodwork from a trademark, beautiful freekick.
PSG named an attacking line-up for the match, with Messi starting alongside Ángel Di María, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé in a front four.
However, the Parisians couldn’t find their flair for the most part and fell behind after a Lucas Paquetá effort just after half-time. Despite a relatively quick response in the form of a Neymar penalty, the Ligue 1 champions didn’t look like finding a winner with both Di María and Messi replaced in an ambitious set of substitutions with less than 15 minutes to go.
The latter’s change sparked real controversy online, with fans of both PSG and Messi bemused by Pochettino’s decision.
“Messi off, TV off,” one user tweeted.
“Your coach is confused,” another remarked. “Sign Antonio Conte.”
“Poch has compromised his career,” a Messi enthusiast commented. “I have never seen Messi subbed in my entire life, unless he is injured. You saw how angry he was when he is subbed.”
However, Pochettino’s substitutions were vindicated in added time, with substitute Mauro Icardi guiding a Mbappé cross home to maintain the French giants’ 100% start to the new season.