‘This shows his humility’: Fans go wild for viral free-kick image which ‘sums up Messi’s attitude’ as PSG beat Man City

‘This shows his humility’: Fans go wild for viral free-kick image which ‘sums up Messi’s attitude’ as PSG beat Man City

Lionel Messi got off the mark for PSG with a typically spectacular goal against Champions League rivals Manchester City, but there was another image from Tuesday night which fans say summed up the Argentine icon.

Messi swept home a superb left-footed strike from the edge of the box in the 74th minute at the Parc des Princes after charging up the pitch and exchanging passes with Kylian Mbappe.

The crowd exploded at the sight of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner bagging a first goal in PSG colors, and in a fashion seen so many times before during Messi's days at Barcelona.

But while the goal summed up Messi’s enduring brilliance – also putting PSG out of sight at 2-0 up in the match – there was another image which fans pointed to as showcasing the Argentine’s humble genius.

As the visitors lined up a free-kick towards the PSG goal in injury time, Messi was seen lying on the ground behind his team’s wall, adopting a position that has become fashionable in recent years as a way of stopping shots sneaking in under the wall.

It was an unusual sight to see Messi stretched across on the Parc des Princes turf, and fans and pundits reacted by claiming it encapsulated the 34-year-old’s willingness to do the dirty work for his team.

"Humility is what makes greatness," wrote one fan.

"Here’s the greatest footballer of all time rejecting the chance to wear his friend's number 10 and is wearing jersey number 30 and now he’s lying on the ground to defend PSG’s lead! That’s what legends are made of!"

Some joked that Messi was simply hiding from PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino in order not to be substituted, after their tense exchange when the star was taken off in a league game against Lyon earlier this month.

Messi’s PSG teammate Neymar chimed in, joking on Instagram about his surprise at seeing his strike partner down on the deck behind him. 

Elsewhere, former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand said he would be happy to do the dirty work in place of Messi. 

Although the behind-the-wall blocking tactic has been around for some time, fans claimed that Messi’s own free-kick threat was part of the reason why teams often adopted it as an extra line of defence.

And of course, comparisons with Messi’s perennial rival Ronaldo were unavoidable, with some fans claiming the Manchester United star would never do the same for his team (even though Ronaldo tends to be among those standing in the wall due to his 6ft 1in frame).

The Portugal icon’s infamously poor attempt at defending a free-kick for Juventus against Porto last season was also dragged up.

Messi’s goal on Tuesday night was his 121st in the Champions League but his first for a club not named Barcelona.

"I’m adapting to my new team,” the star said afterwards.  

“The more we forwards play together, the better our relationship will be. We all need to grow together and improve and keep giving our best.”

It seems that adaptation includes occasionally lying down on the job.

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Lionel Messi (right) is off the mark for PSG © Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters
‘I’m adapting’: Messi wants more after 1st PSG strike with sensational goal in clinical Champions League win over Man City (VIDEO)

             

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