Despite nabbing an assist in midweek, a missed penalty has seen the forward lambasted – but his old clubmate says to write him off at your peril
Lionel Messi has “plenty more to come” at Paris Saint-Germain, according to former Barcelona team-mate Cesc Fabregas, who believes that the Argentine can silence his critics at Parc des Princes.
The veteran forward, who moved to the Ligue 1 giants ahead of the current campaign to bring a lifelong association with the Blaugrana to a close, has arguably struggled to deliver on his world-class promise for Mauricio Pochettinos side.
Despite delivering the assist for Kylian Mbappes winner against Real Madrid in the pairs Champions League last-16 tie this week, Messi was once again lambasted after missing an earlier penalty – but Fabregas has warned that detractors write off the reigning Ballon dOr holder at their peril.
“I have read things from people who must not have seen him play against Real Madrid,” the former Spain international told Mundo Deportivo. “Without being stellar, he played a good game.
“He put Mbappe through on goal in the first half with a pass that none of the other 21 players couldve pulled off. He missed a penalty. So what? Judging him for that seems ridiculous to me.
“I remember Luis Enriques first year [as Barcelona coach] in which [Messi] was criticised a lot. There was a crisis around that. Then Barcelona won the treble. Now something similar can happen.
“I understand that stories have to be sold, but we are talking about a player who can make you eat your words in a second. With Messi you always have to be careful, just in case. Theres plenty more to come.”
Mbappes matchwinner late in injury-time sealed a crucial win for PSG against the club he has been widely tipped to join in the summer when his contract runs out, though reports of an eye-watering new deal for the France international have surfaced in recent days.
Fabregas does not feel that even if Mbappe joins however, it will impact the potential of a Barca revival, adding: “Thats life. Real Madrid has also had Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona didnt stop winning.
“A huge player is going to go to their big rivals, but Xavi has a lot of young talent. Barcelona are in good hands.”