Lionel Messi marked his comeback to Paris Saint-Germain by scoring a goal in his first match since winning the World Cup.
The 35-year-old recently resumed training in the new year after taking a break to celebrate and recover from Qatar 2022. This was where he achieved his long-awaited victory, making it one of the most memorable finals ever.
However, the forward did not appear to be affected by any after-effects as he returned to play and scored a goal from a short distance in PSG’s 2-0 victory over Angers on Wednesday.
Prior to the game, Messi and his teammates showed their respect for Pelé by sporting a t-shirt featuring the Brazilian legend’s face during warmups.
Despite Christophe Galtier having to rotate his team and gradually reintroduce players after the World Cup, PSG remains in a strong position at the top of the league.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé, who was part of the team that lost in the final in Qatar, was given a break for the match on Wednesday. This gave an opportunity for young player Hugo Ekitiké to get some playing experience.
The young 20-year-old striker has made a strong impression when given the opportunity this season, and he kicked off the scoring with a skillful goal in the first half.
Messi, who worked in tandem with Neymar Jr. in the attack, scored a second goal in the 72nd minute with a well-timed run and a finish with his right foot.
The assistant referee first signaled for offside, but the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) overturned the decision and the goal was counted.
PSG received a boost of good news with Messi’s return, following their first loss of the season in the league last week against Lens with a score of 3-1.
Gradually, everyone is returning.
Galtier stated in an interview with PSGTV after the match that it was crucial for the team to return to their winning streak. He also mentioned the pressure from their competitors who are determined to succeed.
“We were aware that our upcoming match would be challenging, as Angers is a team known for their strong football skills and tactical challenges.”
“I want to emphasize that following the World Cup, we have had many players who were unable to participate, resulting in a fragmented group. However, I am pleased to see that gradually, everyone is returning and reuniting.”
The next game for PSG, who currently leads the table by six points, will be against Rennes on Sunday.