KEY POINTS

  • Lionel Messi made his PSG debut Sunday
  • He came off the bench after 66 minutes
  • Mbappe netted a brace in PSG's 2-0 win

Mauricio Pochettino expressed his delight to see Lionel Messi make his Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) debut on Sunday but also admitted that the legendary forward was "far from his best form."

Messi recently ended his association of over two decades with FC Barcelona and moved to PSG as a free agent on a two-year deal. The legendary forward made his debut for the Ligue 1 side on Sunday when he came on for Neymar after 66 minutes in the league clash with Reims. The match marked Messi's first-ever competitive match for a club other than Barcelona. 

While Messi did not manage to go on the goal sheet, Kylian Mbappe, whose PSG future is believed to be uncertain, netted a brace to hand PSG a 2-0 win. 

PSG head coach Pochettino opened up on Messi's debut and admitted that the Argentina captain will get better following the international break.

"He's been good. I'm very happy to see him make his debut. It was important for him. He is far from his best form, but he is training very well. He will be better after the [international] break. We expect the best from him," Pochettino said in a post-match interview about his compatriot Messi, Goal reported.

Lionel Messi made his PSG debut as a second-half substitute in their win at Reims in Ligue 1 on Sunday Lionel Messi made his PSG debut as a second-half substitute in their win at Reims in Ligue 1 on Sunday Photo: AFP / FRANCK FIFE

Initially, it was known that Messi was not fit to play for PSG immediately. Before joining PSG, his last appearance was in the Copa America 2021 final, where Argentina defeated Brazil to finally hand Messi his first competitive trophy with his national team. Following the memorable victory, Messi took a month-long vacation, traveling to Miami and the Spanish island of Ibiza. 

Messi has only been back in training for a couple of weeks and has been short of match fitness, which saw his debut being delayed. However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner will hope to make his first start with PSG after the international break, when the club hosts newly promoted but undefeated Clermont at Parc des Princes. 

With four victories in as many matches, PSG are currently at the top of the 2021-22 Ligue 1 table.