Messi inspired Argentina to victory in Qatar in December to secure the country’s first World Cup title in 36 years and complete his personal haul of trophies after four previous World Cup tournaments had ended in heartbreak for the superstar forward.
Messi, who joined PSG in 2021 when Barcelona were unable to register his contract but has since left for Inter Miami, was presented with a personal trophy on his return to PSG training after the tournament and given a guard of honour by his teammates ahead his first session back.
But Messi appeared to take issue with the lack of a public fuss at his first game as a newly crowned world champion, citing what his Argentina colleagues got at their respective teams.
Messi seemed to understand why PSG were reluctant to laud him in front of their fans, noting that it was France that Argentina beat in the final. Lyon’s Nicolas Tagliafico was the only other player contracted to a French club. But it didn’t stop Messi talking about it in a recent interview with ESPN.
“I was the only player of the [squad] that didn’t get a [club] recognition,” he said. “It was understandable…because of [Argentina], [France] didn’t retain the World Cup.”
Asked about Messi’s comments in his own interview with RMC, Al-Khelaifi sought to clarify.
“As everyone saw – we even published a video – we honoured Messi in training, and we also celebrated in private,” he said.
“But, with respect, we are a French club. Of course, it made sense to celebrate at the stadium. [But] we have to respect the country he defeated, the French people and also our fans. Messi was with us, and he is an incredible player. We were proud to have him here.”