Lionel Messi celebrated his return to Paris Saint-Germain with a purpose in his first sport again since lifting the World Cup.
The 35-year-old solely returned to coaching within the new yr after taking a while off to have fun and recuperate after Qatar 2022, the place he lastly gained the trophy that had all the time eluded him in one of many biggest finals ever.
But the ahead didn’t look to be struggling any hangover as he returned to motion with a purpose from shut vary in PSG’s 2-0 win in opposition to Angers on Wednesday.
Messi additionally paid tribute to Pelé earlier than the match, becoming a member of his teammates in sporting a t-shirt with the Brazilian’s face on it in the course of the warmup.
PSG sits comfortably high of the league regardless of Christophe Galtier having to modify up his crew as he eases gamers again in after the World Cup.
Kylian Mbappé, a crushed finalist in Qatar, was rested for Wednesday’s match, permitting the likes of teen Hugo Ekitiké to get some sport time.
The 20-year-old ahead has impressed when given the prospect this season and opened the scoring with a sweeping end within the first half.
Messi, who dovetailed the assault alongside Neymar Jr., then doubled the lead within the 72nd minute after a nicely timed run and proper foot end.
The linesman had initially flagged for offside, however the Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) overruled the decision and the purpose was given.
The win on Messi’s return is a few welcome excellent news for PSG, who misplaced within the league for the primary time this season final week, 3-1 away to Lens.
“Yes, it was very important to get back to winning ways. We have rivals who are pushing hard,” Galtier advised PSGTV after the sport.
“We knew that we have been going to have a tough match as a result of Angers is a crew that performs good soccer and poses massive issues on a tactical stage.
“I also insist on the fact that the situation – post-World Cup – means that we have had a lot of players absent, that the group was very scattered and that, little by little, everyone is coming back and reconnecting.”
PSG, which is six factors clear atop the desk, performs Rennes in its subsequent sport on Sunday.