Lionel Messi has criticised his former club, Paris St-Germain, although his attack appears to be built on shaky ground.
Messi led his country to victory at last year’s World Cup, but in an interview with ESPN Argentina on Thursday he said he was the only member of the squad not to be honoured by his club for his achievement.
“I was the only player of the [squad] that didn’t get a [club] recognition,” said Messi.
He then implied the supposed slight was due to the fact that Argentina had beaten France in the final.
“It was understandable … because of us [Argentina], they didn’t retain the World Cup,” he added.
However, a video from January shows Messi at a ceremony put on by PSG to celebrate his victory at the World Cup. He is seen walking through a tunnel of applauding teammates and members of the club’s staff, before being presented with a trophy bearing his name.
“I am touched by the welcome from all my teammates and the staff,” Messi says in the video, standing in front of a mural depicting the PSG club crest.
Messi and his former Barcelona teammate Neymar came under fire from sections of the PSG fanbase after failing to win the Champions League with the club. Both players were booed towards the end of their time in Paris. Messi left PSG this summer, joining Inter Miami in Major League Soccer, where he has transformed the club’s fortunes.
The Argentinian has said in the past that he was targeted by “a significant group of the PSG fans”. In Thursday’s interview he said he did not regret his time in France.
“It happened like that. It was not what I expected but I always say things happen for a reason,” he said. “Even if I wasn’t well there, it happened that I was world champion while I was there.”
Messi has enjoyed a new lease of life in MLS, although he went off injured during Wednesday’s victory over Toronto FC.
“I love what I do, I enjoy playing and now it’s a different way,” he said. “That is why I made the decision to come to Miami and not continue my career elsewhere, you experience it a different way.”
The 36-year-old is under contract with Miami until the end of 2025, and said he has no immediate plans to retire. The US will co-host the World Cup in 2026, but Messi is unsure if he will still be playing by then.
“I do think about the Copa América [in 2024],” he said. “After the Copa América we will see, it depends on how I feel. I will see how I feel day by day, there are three years to go. I don’t notice if my level of play is declining, I stop and play as always. But there is a reality: I’m older, I have a thousand games behind me, and time passes for everyone.”