After a long wait — 19 days after his signing was announced — Lionel Messi made his official debut for Paris Saint-Germain. He entered in the 66th minute of a Ligue 1 road match at Stade de Reims with the result already in hand in a 2-0 victory. It was PSG's fourth straight win to start the league season.
Messi came into the match in place of his friend and fellow attacker Neymar, who was also making his season debut. The Argentine's 24 minutes on the field weren't remarkable outside of two attempted connections with goal-scoring hero Kylian Mbappe, who netted both goals. By the time Messi came in, the match had lost any real rhythm on either side with six subs, two yellow cards and a lot of physical play dominating the closing stages of the match. Ronaldo to
Man United will be the ‘perfect business’ – Mourinho
Here are Messi's stats for his first match in PSG colors, courtesy of SofaScore. He didn't see much of the ball and when he did, he didn't try to do anything outrageous. A total of 11 of his 21 pass attempts came in the attacking half of the field:
- Minutes: 24
- Goals/Assists: 0
- Touches: 26
- Key passes: 0
- Dribble attempts: 0
- Shots / Shots on goal: 0
- Crosses: 0
- Fouls suffered: 3
- Possessions lost: 2
- Passing accuracy: 95% (made 20 of 21 attempted passes)
The map below shows where Messi's touches came on the field:
🧐 La première de Leo Messi en chiffres 🇦🇷 ! #SDRPSG
👟 26 ballons joués
💪 5 duels disputés
👮 3 fautes subies
🦶 1 tacle
🛠️ 1 ballon récupéré
🎯 21 passes tentées (dont 11 dans le camp adverse), 95% de réussite pic.twitter.com/Al6N4Zvur3 — Ligue 1 Uber Eats (@Ligue1UberEats) August 29, 2021
The Argentine was included in PSG's matchday squad for the first time since signing for the club on Aug. 10 and his coach, Argentine compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, confirmed prior to the match that the soccer legend would play in the game. He started on the bench, wearing the No. 30 jersey.
Fans around the world were eager to see Messi in a new jersey after he spent 21 seasons with FC Barcelona in Spain. He became a free agent on June 30 and signed a two-year deal with PSG with an option for a third.
His next match for PSG will come after the September international break on Sunday, Sept. 12 when PSG hosts Clermont Foot in Matchday 5 of the Ligue 1 season. Messi is expected to feature for Argentina in three World Cup qualifiers that will be played at the start of the month.
PSG vs. Stade de Reims final score
|Stade de Reims||0||0||0|
PSG — Kylian Mbappe (Angel Di Maria) — 15th min.
PSG — Kylian Mbappe (Achraf Hakimi) — 63rd min.
Final: Stade de Reims 0, PSG 2
Final: Not the best performance from PSG, but they'll take the win, their fourth in a row to start the season, as they head into the international break. The fact that they got Messi and Neymar their first minutes was a bonus. If Kylian Mbappe played his last game for the club, two goals and a man-of-the-match performance is a good way to go out. He played the full 90 minutes and hasn't let up one bit since the reports of Real Madrid offers started coming through.
A quick selfie, a banner signing and bumping into Thierry Henry! 🤷♂️
A surreal ending for Leo Messi in his first game for PSG! #beINLigue1 #SDRPSG
Watch Now - https://t.co/hkoevnV6B4 pic.twitter.com/9WvAvcMpgJ — beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) August 29, 2021
90th min.: Mbappe tries to find Messi in the box again, but the ball doesn't get to him. He's really trying to find his new teammate. Six minutes of stoppage time.
88th min.: Teams exchanging yellows, but not many scoring chances. Now it's PSG's Leandro Paredes who gets the caution for a hard foul.
84th min.: Stade de Reims' Hugo Ekitike goes in the ref's book for a hard foul on Mbappe. Stade is still pressing. PSG seem happy to play on the counterattack and see out the match with the two-goal lead.
81st min.: SUB - PSG's Julian Draxler comes in for Angel Di Maria.
78th min.: Messi feeds Mbappe down the right side of the box on a driving run and Mbappe tries the return pass, but it's blocked by Reims.
75th min.: SUBS - After two straight corner kicks for the home team, two subs come on for PSG — Paredes and Kimpembe come on — and one for Stade de Reims (Flips on for Kebbal).
72nd min.: Messi is playing on the right side of the attack, with compatriot Di Maria wide left and Mbappe still at center forward.
71st min.: SUB - Dutch forward Mitchell Van Bergen comes on for Dion Lopy.
66th min.: SUBS - And now Messi's finally coming into the match. He enters for Neymar to chants of "Messi" from the crowd. Ander Herrera also comes on for Wijnaldum.
63rd min.: GOAL PSG! It's Mbappe again! Fantastic counterattack from PSG with Hakimi storming down the right and feeding Mbappe at the far post for the easy tap-in.
62nd min.: PSG goalkeeper Navas needs two stabs to stop a shot from Reims.
58th min.: Messi's warming up on the sideline. We'll see how long before he comes on.
55th min.: Another yellow card for PSG. This time it's left back Abdou Diallo with a dangerous foul in midfield and he goes in the book.
51st min.: Goal for Stade de Reims! A cross from the right is headed on goal by El Bilal Toure, Keylor Navas can't hold on and Stade's Marshall Munetsi knocks home the rebound. But the VAR scratched this one for offside. Navas and PSG are saved by video review.
❌ El Reims empató al PSG, pero su gol fue anulado a instancias del VAR por fuera de juego ❌
¿Estás de acuerdo? 🤔
¡Sigue el #SDRPSG en VIVO por beIN SPORTS! pic.twitter.com/p7PBwO7ry1 — beIN SPORTS Español (@ESbeINSPORTS) August 29, 2021
46th min.: No Messi to start the second half. But Stade de Reims bring on Bradley Locko and Valon Berisha as halftime subs.
Halftime: Stade de Reims 0, PSG 1
Halftime: It was an OK first half from PSG. Kylian Mbappe, who's still the subject of an active transfer bid from Real Madrid, was the difference-maker once again for his team. He looked like the most dangerous player on the field for PSG. Outside of the goal, it was a toothless display from PSG and Stade de Reims are very much still in it. All eyes on Mauricio Pochettino and when he'll decide to bring on Messi.
44th min.: And now PSG midfielder Marco Verratti gets a yellow card for a foul from behind on Kebbal. Not the way PSG and Pochettino want to close out this half. It's the second straight game with a yellow card for the caution-prone Verratti:
Verratti cette saison : 2 matches, 2 jaunes. — PSG COMMUNITY (@psgcommunity_) August 29, 2021
41st min.: The home team with another chance! Moreto Cassama with a shot that nicks the top left corner of PSG's goal. PSG aren't attacking with enough urgency and seem almost content to keep possession. Stade de Reims is showing that it can make them pay.
39th min.: Shot on goal for Stade de Reims! Ilan Kebbal fires a shot from the left corner of the area and Navas dives and holds on. It was a cross that turned into a shot. Check out the move that Kebbal put on Achraf Hakimi.
38th min.: Rare attack for Stade de Reims and the right wingback Thomas Foket can't win the corner kick and the attack is wasted.
32nd min.: Di Maria free kick foiled by the wall. It's been a while since Stade de Reims has troubled Keylor Navas.
26th min.: This match has now settled into a clear pattern: PSG controlling proceedings and Stade de Reims looking to intercept and launch the counter.
20th min.: That goal was the second header goal by Mbappe in the new season. He apparently never had one before the start of 2021-2022 Ligue 1.
Kylian #Mbappé lors de ses trois premières saisons au #PSG .
⚽ 78 buts en Ligue 1
🧢 0 de la tête
Mbappé en quatre rencontres depuis l'entame de la nouvelle saison.
⚽ 2 buts en Ligue 1
🧢 Les 2 de la tête #SRFCPSG pic.twitter.com/SSBoKobMMv — Goal France 🇫🇷 (@GoalFrance) August 29, 2021
15th min.: Goal PSG! Di Maria with the fantastic cross from the right side and Mbappe heads it home. Mbappe, playing at center forward today, made a great run in the box. Di Maria can do anything with that left foot.
14th min.: Messi in the PSG mask on the bench:
13th min.: Marquinhos with a huge sliding block on a shot in the box by El Bilal Toure, but that Stade de Reims attempt was also ruled offside.
10th min.: First big chance for PSG on the feet of Kylian Mbappe. He gets the ball, turns in the box and pokes the ball at goal, but it’s just wide.
Kylian with the 1st chance of the game! 😱
📺 Don't miss a second! @StadeDeReims 🆚 @PSG_English is LIVE NOW on beIN SPORTS! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/2w1kGuQRmE — beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) August 29, 2021
8th min.: Stade de Reims looks dangerous with PSG keeping a high line. In the latest instance, Reims forward El Bilal Toure is caught offside. It’s the third offside call against Reims.
1st min.: We’re off. And it’s an offside call on the kickoff against PSG. That’s rare.
2:47 p.m.: And here’s that walk out of the tunnel for Messi:
Leo Messi steps out for his first PSG game! 👀
Will he get on tonight? Reims vs PSG is LIVE on beIN SPORTS 1 ENGLISH. #beINLigue1 #SDRPSG
Watch Now - https://t.co/hkoevnV6B4 pic.twitter.com/UrdqIm1yUH — beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) August 29, 2021
2:46 p.m.: A look at Messi in the tunnel coming out with his team:
2:32 p.m.: The fans in Reims are getting a treat:
1:36 p.m.: Mauricio Pochettino confirms pregame that Messi will be getting playing time in the match:
12:46 p.m.: Messi's place in the locker? Right next to his best bud Neymar:
PSG vs. Stade de Reims lineups
Even without Lionel Messi in the starting lineup, PSG's front line is scary: Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria. Two of the five new acquisitions in the offseason will also start: right back Achraf Hakimi and central midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.
Starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Keylor Navas — 22-Abdou Diallo, 5-Marquinhos, 24-Thilo Kehrer, 2-Achraf Hakimi — 6-Marco Verratti, 27-Idrissa Gueye, 18-Georginio Wijnaldum — 10-Neymar, 7-Kylian Mbappe, 11-Angel Di Maria
Available Subs: 50-Gianluigi Donnarumma-GK, 3-Presnel Kimpembe, 8-Leandro Paredes, 15-Danilo Pereira, 36-Junior Dina Ebimbe, 23-Julian Draxler, 21-Ander Herrera, 29-Arnaud Kalimuendo, 30-Lionel Messi
Starting lineup (3-4-3, left to right): 1-Predrag Rajkovic-GK — 5-Yunis Abdelhamid, 2-Wout Faes, 6-Andrew Gravillon — 26-Dion Lopy, 23-Moreto Cassama, 15-Marshall Munetsi, 32-Thomas Foket — 11-Nathanael Mbuku, 27-El Bilal Toure, 20-Ilan Kebbal
Available Subs: 16-Yehvann Diouf-GK, 3-Ghislain Konan, 13-Fode Doucoure, 28-Bradley Locko, 24-Mathieu Cafaro, 14-Valon Berisha, 12-Alexis Flips, 22-Hugo Ekitike, 19-Mitchell Van Bergen
How to watch Messi, PSG
Ligue 1 matches during the 2021-2022 season are available on beIN Sports, which can be streamed on fuboTV in the USA and Canada:
- TV Channels: beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Espanol, beIN Sportr Xtra (available on fuboTV , cable, satellite, Sling, Fanatiz)
- Streaming: beIN Sports Xtra (on fuboTV , Roku, Sling, Fanatiz and Pluto TV) & beIN Sports Connect app (for authenticated subscribers)
BeIN Sports, beIN Sports en Espanol and beIN Sports Xtra are streaming on fuboTV (free 7-day trial) .