A delighted Lionel Messi hailed his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain as an “important moment” as Manchester City were beaten 2-0 at Parc des Princes to take the French club top of their Champions League group.
Messi, returning from a knee problem that caused the 34-year-old forward to miss PSG’s past two matches, scored with a memorable second-half strike, exchanging passes with Kylian Mbappé before beating Ederson from 20 yards to clinch victory. This followed Idrissa Gueye’s opener before the break.
“I’m very happy to have scored,” Messi told Canal+. “I hadn’t been able to play recently and this was only my second game in this stadium. I’m adapting to my new team. 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.
“They were great opponents. It was very important for us to win the match after our [opening] draw against Brugge. I really wanted to get out there. I haven’t played much. I’m still getting used to my teammates, the team, and today was an important moment.”
City are third after two matches but only a point behind PSG and Club Brugge. Pep Guardiola was pleased with their display. “We had a really good game with good personality but you have to score goals and we didn’t do it, that’s why we lost,” the manager said. “They defended deep and of course their counter-attack is always dangerous with the quality that they have. We controlled them. We couldn’t score, that’s football. Nothing else to say. My biggest compliment to the team.”
Of Messi, City’s manager said: “The goal was fantastic. We know it’simpossible to control Leo during 90 minutes but he was not [too] much in touch with the ball. He was coming back from injury but we know quite well what he can do when he can run and get close to the box: he is unstoppable. We did quite well to reduce those chances.”
Guardiola managed Messi when in charge of Barcelona and he hopes the six-time Ballon d’Or winner can continue his success in the French capital. “I wish him the best, if he is happy and enjoying this period in Paris I will be happy. He decided for many reasons to come here, for him and his family,” he said of the Argentinian’s move in the summer.
Guardiola is also an admirer of the PSG midfielder Marco Verratti. “I’m in love. He is an exceptional player because when he is under pressure he is calm, he has that extra touch, to create extra passes behind our midfield,” he said. “Now we are going to eat good, drink a glass of wine and recover.”