Paris Saint-Germain are already surging clear towards the Ligue 1 title in France even as Lionel Messi has so far been held back for the Champions League, in which he got his first goal for his new club in midweek. Messi’s majestic strike sealed a 2-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City that sent out a statement to the rest of Europe, PSG confirming that they are leading contenders to go all the way in the Champions League. That is why they signed Messi, as they look to win the European Cup for the first time, and that is why Messi came to Paris following his departure from Barcelona, convinced that the Qatar-owned club offered him the best chance to get his hands on a trophy that has eluded him since 2015.
It was just the third time the 34-year-old Argentine had started alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the PSG attack since he made his debut off the bench in a 2-0 Ligue 1 win at Reims in late August.
Indeed Messi has played the sum total of 100 minutes in domestic competition and yet that has not mattered one jot to Mauricio Pochettino’s side, such is their superiority in France.
As they look to reclaim the Ligue 1 title from reigning champions Lille, PSG are already nine points clear of Lens in second after just eight games.
They have a 100 percent record in the league, only the third time ever in France that a team has won its first eight matches of a campaign.
The first was Olympique Lillois in 1936, while the last was…PSG, who won their opening 14 games in 2018 under Thomas Tuchel.
PSG go to Rennes on Sunday, where a full house of close to 30,000 will hope to catch a glimpse of Messi while also hoping the capital side can be brought down a peg or two.
Messi sat out PSG’s last two games with a knee knock as he was kept back in preparation to face City, but he should feature at Roazhon Park before jetting off to Argentina for a gruelling series of three World Cup qualifiers.
If anyone can stop PSG then maybe it should be Rennes, who spent 80 million euros ($92.6m) on new signings in the summer, more than anyone in France including PSG.
Messi, of course, arrived on a free transfer, too good an opportunity for the Parisians to pass up in their pursuit of Champions League glory. In Ligue 1 they barely need him.
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