Lionel Messi responds to World Cup guard of honour PSG team-mate Mbappe missed

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Lionel Messi responds to World Cup guard of honour PSG team-mate Mbappe missed
Lionel Messi responds to World Cup guard of honour PSG team-mate Mbappe missed

Lionel Messi has opened up on his gratitude towards his Paris Saint-Germain teammates for their World Cup guard of honour for him – although Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi were missing from the squad.

Messi was the hero in Argentina’s remarkable final victory over France but the superstar was beaten to the Golden Boot by his club team-mate, who netted a stunning hat-trick in the showpiece event at the Lusail Stadium which may be remembered as the tournament’s greatest ever final.

Messi, 35, broke multiple records in the final on his way to finally getting his hands on the trophy that had previously eluded him during his career. The superstar had appeared to suggest that this year’s World Cup would be his final edition of the tournament ahead of leading the South American nation to their first title since 1986, winning the FIFA Golden Ball award for best player in the competition.

He was handed a hero’s welcome upon his return to PSG training on Wednesday. Mbappe and teammate Hakimi were both granted leave by the club’s boss Christophe Galtier after the Ligue 1 leaders lost their unbeaten record with a defeat against Lens. Neither player was therefore present for Messi’s homecoming, although Mbappe’s younger brother Ethan was in attendance after recently joining PSG's first-team squad.

“Hakimi and Mbappe will have a few days off," Galtier confirmed after PSG crashed to a 3-1 loss at Lens – their first domestic defeat of his rein and first since March last year. "The plan was that they could play these two games. They will now recover."

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Messi took to Instagram on Wednesday to write: “Many thanks to my teammates and all the people from the club for the welcome they gave me. We are back and looking forward to continuing to meet our goals for this season, now with Paris Saint-Germain!”

Lionel Messi responds to World Cup guard of honour PSG team-mate Mbappe missedMessi returned to PSG on Wednesday as a world champion (@PSG_inside/Twitter)
Lionel Messi responds to World Cup guard of honour PSG team-mate Mbappe missedMessi received a guard of honour from his PSG teammates who were at training (@PSG_inside/Twitter)

Have Your Say! Will Messi and Mbappe's relationship be impacted by the World Cup final? Tell us what you think here.

Messi led Argentina to the Copa America title last year – their first major trophy in three decades – but the pain of missing out on the World Cup title had continued over the years as it had been the one trophy that had eluded him, until now.

Mbappe, PSG's only representative in the French World Cup squad, was mocked by Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez in the victors' celebrations. However, Galtier insisted any bad blood would not impact the forward's relationship with Messi.

"I would focus on the relationship between them," the manager said. "It wasn't Leo Messi winding anybody else up. What I saw after the final, what I have experienced, is there is no reason to mix these things up because the goalkeeper's behaviour is down to him.

"What matters to me is the relationship between the players. Kylian Mbappe had a very good attitude, despite losing. Of course, he was very disappointed, but he did that in a classy way. He congratulated Leo Messi and that is a very good thing for the club and for the team."

Colin Millar

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation