Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi made it 12 goal involvements in nine Ligue 1 outings this season in Saturday’s win over Nice.
Lionel Messi showed against Nice he has the quality to become the world’s best player again, according to Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier.
The Argentina international opened the scoring in PSG’s 2-1 Ligue 1 win at the Parc des Princes on Saturday with a lofted 22-yard free-kick which he won himself.
It was Messi’s first free-kick goal for PSG since his arrival from Barcelona in August 2021 and the 60th overall of his career for club and country.
After an incredible first campaign in the French capital, Messi has five goals and seven assists in his first nine Ligue 1 games this season.
And after scoring in back-to-back league games for the first time as a PSG player, Galtier backed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner to maintain his consistency.
“I have the incredible pleasure of seeing him every morning at practice,” Galtier said in his post-match press conference. “He’s playing well and he’s happy every day when he’s training.
“He is a player who has always had the habit of scoring a lot of goals in a season. This year he is regaining the taste to score goals and is becoming decisive for us.”
“Whether he can be the best player in the world again, I would say yes because he is in incredible form and he is well prepared.
“He has a relationship with his teammates that makes him happy. When he’s happy, he performs, when he performs, he can reach the standards he’s seen throughout his career.”
Messi’s sublime effort was canceled out by Gaetan Laborde two minutes into the second half and PSG were then largely frustrated by Nice, the side Galtier left for PSG in July.
But Kylian Mbappe proved to be the match-winner from the bench with his 83rd-minute strike, which came from his only shot on target as PSG leapfrogged Marseille at the top.
Asked about his decision to start Mbappe on the bench after his return from France duty, Galtier said: “He got a knock on his hip against Denmark.
“He came back on Wednesday and only had 48 hours to rest. He still had a hip hematoma today. He had those concerns but he still remained available to the team.”
“I had the same discussion with Lionel when he returned to the group [from the Argentina campaign]. Unlike Kylian, he didn’t get injured during his time away.”
PSG now have 25 points at the start of the campaign after nine games unbeaten, matching their previous best starts from the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.
It wasn’t all good news for the Parisians though, as Renato Sanches lasted just 16 minutes after being brought off the bench, compounding his injury problem.
“Renato felt a bit of a stretch in his left leg when sliding,” Galtier said. “It’s his left leg, the side where he was injured before.
“He was coming back from an injury and he’d rather leave than stay. As for the severity of the injury, it’s still too early to know.”