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1 Feb, 2022 11:44

Return to iconic number fails to help as Messi PSG misery continues

Even Lionel Messi's return to the iconic number 10 jersey couldn't help PSG as they crashed out of the French cup
Return to iconic number fails to help as Messi PSG misery continues

Even a return to the famous number 10 jersey wasn't enough to overcome Lionel Messi's inauspicious start to his spell in the French capital as the Argentine magician was powerless to stop his Paris Saint-Germain side from being eliminated from the French cup by Ligue 1 rivals OGC Nice on Monday evening.

The former Barcelona man – who normally wears the number 30 jersey in Paris – was given temporary custody of Neymar's 10 shirt for the cup tie at home to a Nice side outperforming expectations in the French top flight, but the misfiring Messi couldn't get on the scoresheet as his side were eliminated in a penalty shootout. 

Messi was handed the 10 jersey in the absence of the injured Neymar due to French rules which allow the 1-11 jerseys be used in cup games regardless of a player's original squad number.

However, his return to the jersey which brought him to the summit of the world game during his time in Catalonia didn't prove to be a good luck charm as he failed to hit the back of the net after 120 minutes of action.

Messi did manage to score during the shootout but errors from Leandro Paredes and Xavi Simons handed the game to Nice, and denying boss Mauricio Pochettino a repeat of the Coup de France victory from last season which, despite PSG's riches, remains the only silverware he has won since taking charge at one of the world's richest clubs a year ago. 

The former Barcelona man's form will be a concern at the Parc des Princes. Messi hasn't scored in domestic football since November and despite his superstar billing, he has scored just one league goal since joining the club last August.

Equally ineffective was French young gun Kylian Mbappe, who was introduced as a second half substitute but also failed to make an impression on the scoreline.

The 23-year-old, who is considering one of the best young talents in the global game, is widely expected to sign for Real Madrid when his contract in Paris expires at the end of the season.

But it will be fortunes of the suddenly blunt Messi which might well be the source of the greater concern within the corridors of power at Paris Saint-Germain.