Lionel Messi said he and his family had trouble adapting after his move to Paris St Germain in 2021, and he said the boos and jeers directed at him towards the end of his stint was something teammates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar also endured.
The Argentine great did not renew his contract with PSG this month after two years and he announced on 7 June that he will join MLS side Inter Miami, leaving some fans disappointed with his performance.
While Messi recorded 32 goals and 35 assists in his two seasons with the French champions, a rift with the fans emerged after he failed to help the team make it past the Champions League last 16 round.
“My stay in Paris started with a very difficult adaptation, much more than I expected, even though I had people I knew in the dressing room. It was difficult to adapt, the change, arriving late, not having a pre-season, adapting to the new club, the new way of playing, new teammates, the city…It wasn’t easy for me or for my family,” he told BeIN Sports.
Lionel Messi said he and his family had trouble adapting after his move to Paris St Germain in 2021, and he said the boos and jeers directed at him towards the end of his stint was something team mates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar also endured. https://t.co/Htqsgx5LWr
— Reuters Sports (@ReutersSports) June 23, 2023
The welcome was “very nice,” he said.
“And then people started to treat me differently, a part of the Paris fans started to treat me differently.”
“There was a rift with a big part of the Paris fans, it was not my intention, far from it, it happened like that. It had happened before with Mbappe and Neymar and I know that’s their way of doing things.”
“I will remember all the people who respect me, as I have always respected everyone since I arrived, and that’s all, it’s an anecdote.”
Messi, who won two league titles and a French Super Cup with PSG, was also heavily criticised in Paris after he was suspended by the club following an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.
After much speculation where Messi was linked with a return to Barcelona, the world champion is expected to make his debut for Miami on 21 July in a Leagues Cup clash against Mexican side Cruz Azul.