KEY POINTS

  • Messi has made 3 appearances for PSG this season
  • He is yet to score for his new club
  • He has joined PSG on a two-year contract

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) defender Archaf Hakimi has admitted that he was "surprised" by Lionel Messi’s behavior as he is so "simple and quiet."

Hakimi said it is a “dream” to play alongside Messi, who left his boyhood club FC Barcelona as a free agent and joined PSG during the 2021 summer market. 

PSG are hoping for finally tasting the European glory now that they have Messi on their team, who has dominated the sport, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, over the last two decades.

Messi may have recorded close to 700 competitive goals in club soccer, Hakimi has been taken aback by the Argentinean’s reserved nature off the field. 

"Building a technical relationship with him [Messi] is easy! I give him the ball, I run and he will put it where it belongs! I was surprised by the way he behaved, he is simple, quiet," Hakimi, who is a product of the Real Madrid youth set up, told French publication L'Equipe in an interview.

Hakimi, who made his senior debut during the 2017-18 season, played only one season at Real Madrid before he was loaned off to Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2018. He spent two seasons in Germany, following which, he moved to Serie A club Inter Milan on a permanent transfer in 2020. He played a key role in Inter Milan winning the 2020-21 Serie A trophy -- their first league title in a decade. 

The Moroccan right-back is looking forward to learning from Messi, who has won the Ballon d’Or award for a record six times.

"For Messi to leave Barca, like everyone else, I didn't expect it, and when I heard you were coming here, what can I say? A dream for me! I played with many great players and the only one I missed was Messi! I am proud to evolve with such a good footballer. To progress, I will pay attention to how he trains, how he plays. It will grow the team and each of the players that make it up. We speak the same language, in addition, little by little we are getting to know each other," the 22-year-old Hakimi further said.

Messi made his PSG debut from the bench in a 2-0 win at Reims. He was handed his first start with the Paris side during their Champions League group game against Club Brugges. The game, however, had ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw despite PSG being a star-studded side, comprising Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Hakimi and Gini Wijnaldum. 

Lionel Messi and PSG were held in check by Club Brugge Lionel Messi and PSG were held in check by Club Brugge Photo: AFP / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

With eight wins in as many games, PSG are at the top of the 2021-22 Ligue 1 table with 24 points, nine points clear of second-placed Lens. 

Having played three competitive matches for PSG, Messi is yet to score for his new club.