Lionel Messi reacted angrily to being substituted by Mauricio Pochettino during PSG’s recent clash with Olympique Lyon. Former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka claims he understands the Argentine’s reaction while stating that Leo will not forget the controversial episode.
“Completely,” Anelka told Le Parisien (via MARCA) when asked if he understood Lionel Messi’s frustration with the substitution.
“You don’t take off a six-time Ballon d’Or winner in the 65th minute when he hasn’t scored for his team. It plays with his head a lot.
“A forward needs his coach to show him confidence and that right there won’t do it. I’m getting ahead of myself but Messi will not forget what Pochettino has done. It will stay with him. He’s the star of the team and it was his first game at the Parc des Princes. It’s going to be very difficult to recover from that as a situation.
“Messi didn’t play against Metz and for me that’s already a response. You can’t manage Messi like that. The coach wanted to send out a strong message, which is good, but this is Messi,” Anelka added.
As a reminder, Lionel Messi was included in PSG’s starting line-up for the recent Ligue 1 clash with Lyon. With the game tied at 1-1, the Argentine was substituted off in the 75th minute. That didn’t sit well with him as he reacted angrily by subbing Mauricio Pochettino’s handshake while heading to the reserves.
However, the manager later explained the reason behind his decision to withdraw the 6-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“We made the decision to take Messi off because of a possible future injury. We have important matches coming up and we have to protect him.
“These are decisions made for the team and everyone knows we have many great players. We have to make these decisions. Sometimes they might be viewed favorably, sometimes a little less.”
The tactician was later proven right as it was discovered Lionel Messi sustained a knee injury during the encounter, which kept him out of the clash with Metz last weekend.
Lionel Messi set to return against Manchester City
There were doubts over Lionel Messi’s participation in the Champions League clash with Manchester City on Tuesday following the knock he picked up versus Olympic Lyon.
However, it looks like the Argentine could feature in the game after returning to train with the group yesterday. It remains to be seen if he’ll be included in the starting lineup or introduced at some point during the game.