Messi’s first week at PSG: Rondos, staff barbecues and home looking


They received the ultimate coaching match on Tuesday morning. In fact they did. Throughout solely his full second follow with the entire Paris Saint-Germain squad, Lionel Messi was on the profitable facet, and what teammates he needed to work with: Keylor Navas, Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Kylian Mbappe. Their opponents, together with Mauro Icardi, Marquinhos, Marco Verratti and Achraf Hakimi, might do nothing. Messi’s staff was not going to lose and the Argentine is already the King of the Camp des Loges, the Parisians’ coaching floor. Extra importantly, Messi is lastly feeling like a soccer participant once more.

After breaking the web and each social media community with his sensational exit from Barcelona on Aug. 5, Messi’s life is slowly returning to some form of normality. The craziness of his arrival within the French capital, the scenes at Le Bourget airport, on the Parc des Princes and even outdoors his luxurious resort close to the Champs Elysees, have impressed him. It is doable he did not count on such a reception from the PSG followers, which is sensible: he’d by no means modified golf equipment in his total profession, making this a primary for him.

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The “Messimania” in Paris, in France and all all over the world, has been large. On Saturday, the Parc des Princes exploded for his presentation earlier than the sport in opposition to Strasbourg. The membership placed on a present, profitable 4-2 after racing to a 3-0 lead, and Messi actually appreciated all of it.

As a metropolis, the Messi household has at all times preferred Paris quite a bit. His spouse, Antonela, has visited typically up to now for some buying or to attend Style Week, usually held in late-September/early-October. Collectively, they’ve taken their three boys, Thiago, Mateo and Ciro, to Disneyland Paris a number of occasions as properly. For the previous week, the six-time Ballon d’Or profitable is discovering Paris as a soccer metropolis and whereas he loves the fervour and euphoria, he appreciates the quiet moments as properly.

On the Le Royal Monceau resort, the place he’s at the moment staying in a set price 20,000 euros an evening, folks depart him in peace. On Monday night, when he took Antonela out for the primary time for supper, simply the 2 of them, they went to Cesar, top-of-the-line Italian eating places within the metropolis — and a spot the place PSG gamers and celebrities wish to eat. They made the brief journey from Avenue Hoche to Avenue de Wagram, on the opposite facet of the Arc de Triomphe, and once more, no-one bothered them other than two younger followers, for whom he signed autographs on the restaurant.

Whereas he is adjusting to town and its spoils, it is also time for him to get again to work.

On Sunday, he took half in just a few “rondos” after which he humbled midfielder Idrissa Gueye at Teqball, the game that mixes soccer with desk tennis and is performed on a curved desk. On Monday, his new teammates (or at the least those who had by no means performed with him earlier than) acquired a bit style of Messi’s expertise throughout his first correct collective coaching session.

Even wanting match health and after not having kicked a ball for greater than a month since Argentina‘s Copa America win, Messi was wonderful, impressing everybody. He was the “free participant” in the principle coaching drill, which meant he was taking part in for each groups in the course of the little matches. All of it seemed simple to him, however he was unbelievable.

On Tuesday, Mauricio Pochettino paired Messi with Mbappe within the 2-on-2 workout routines. For example that they discovered one another very properly and scored plenty of objectives. Then, they had been each within the profitable staff for the ultimate 6-on-6 drill, in what was the primary time Neymar, Messi and Mbappe had been really taking part in collectively.

There have been plenty of smiles and laughter on the pitch and within the dressing room, the place Messi has discovered his place actually simply. On Sunday, he naturally acquired invited to Ander Herrera‘s thirty second party on the midfielder’s home — Neymar, Di Maria, Paredes, Navas, Marquinhos, Icardi and lots of others had been there. Messi additionally liked the asado (the Argentine model of a barbecue) organised on Sunday on the coaching floor after coaching.

One factor’s positive within the first week, although it is nonetheless early in his time on the membership: Messi’s arrival has already raised the hassle ranges at coaching. “Everybody desires to indicate him how good they’re. Even in rondos, you possibly can see the distinction. He has lifted the extent up and the thrill across the place can be unimaginable,” a supply instructed ESPN.

Whereas Messi is completely satisfied at coaching and ready to see when he’ll make his PSG debut — almost definitely, he’ll play his first minutes away to Reims on Aug. 29 — there’s additionally the extra sensible facet of assimilating to a brand new staff. Prime of that checklist: discovering a home for the household and a college for the kids.

The Spanish college Federico Garcia Lorca, situated not removed from the Champs Elysees, might properly welcome Thiago, Mateo and Ciro. When it comes to housing, he desires one thing much like the property he used to dwell in in Castelldefels with a swimming pool and an enormous backyard; to search out it, he’ll must go barely outdoors Paris to a suburb like Neuilly or Bougival (the latter is the place Neymar lives), although he might additionally determine to remain inside the metropolis limits.

Pepe Costa, his private assistant who sorted him in Barcelona for a few years, has (as was anticipated) joined him in Paris. In a bit of excellent fortune, Pepe shouldn’t have any bother getting good tips about life in Paris from his personal son, Alvaro, who’s Neymar’s private assistant. Whereas he will get again to health, one factor’s clear: Messi and his household are in good arms in Paris.

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