Three Sisters – Episode 72
Lionel Messi says his relationship with Paris St-Germain fans “fractured” after a “significant” number of supporters started to treat him differently.
Messi, who won the World Cup with Argentina in December, left PSG at the end of last season after two years and has joined Inter Miami.
In the second half of last season, Messi was repeatedly booed and PSG had to increase security around his house.
“I think in the beginning it was something wonderful,” said Messi.
Speaking to beIN Sports, the 36-year-old said: “But then some people started to treat me differently, a part of the Paris supporters. I think the vast majority still see me and treat me as they did at the beginning, but there was a fracture with a significant group of the Paris fans, which obviously wasn’t my intention, far from it.
“It happened just as it had happened before with [Kylian] Mbappe, with Neymar. I know that’s the way they behave.
“I’ll take away with me the people who respected me, as I always respected everyone since I arrived and that’s all.”
Messi said he did not know if Argentina beating France in the World Cup final was a factor.
He was booed by some PSG fans after being suspended for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, and again during his final match for the Ligue 1 champions.
In a wide-ranging interview, Messi also said he found it “very difficult” to adapt to life in Paris on and off the pitch following his 2021 move from Barcelona, having missed pre-season and then later having a month out mid-season with Covid.
In contrast, he said he felt “very comfortable” at the start of his second season at Parc des Princes but the mid-season winter World Cup “affected the whole season for everyone”.
‘I’ve achieved everything’
In winning the World Cup – Argentina’s first in 36 years – Messi added football’s biggest prize to a list of trophies that includes a record seven Ballon d’Or titles – awarded to the best footballer each year – four Champions Leagues, one Copa America, 10 La Liga titles with Barcelona and two Ligue 1 crowns with PSG.
In May, he broke Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most goals scored in Europe’s top five leagues and, to date, has scored a combined 807 goals for club and country.
“I have nothing left to achieve, I’ve achieved everything,” he said.
However, Messi said his individual achievements were secondary to those won with his teams, though he did concede they were “nice recognitions”.
“I achieved the most important goal I had, which was to win the World Cup with my national team and it was something extraordinary, the way everything happened,” he said.
“I never thought about individual awards and I never gave them more importance than the collective awards.
“To have achieved the objectives with the Argentina national team and to have achieved everything at an individual level, at a team level, for me it is to close an extraordinary career