Nicolas Anelka takes a swipe at Lionel Messi over his slow start to life at PSG as he claims the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is ‘not so extraordinary’ and questions why he doesn’t come under the same pressure as Neymar
- Nicolas Anelka says Lionel Messi hasn’t been ‘extraordinary’ for PSG so far
- Messi has struggled for consistency since he signed for the French club
- Anelka believes Messi should face same scrutiny as his team-mate Neymar
Nicolas Anelka has criticised Lionel Messi amid his difficult start to his Paris Saint-Germain career and suggested that he should face the same scrutiny as Neymar.
Messi has scored two goals in three Champions League games since joining PSG but he has yet to find the net in four appearances in Ligue 1.
Anelka, who had two spells at PSG himself, suggested that Messi’s performances in France have been ‘not extraordinary’ despite the fact that he has won the Ballon d’Or on six occasions.
Nicolas Anelka says that Lionel Messi’s performances for PSG have not been extraordinary
Former PSG striker Anelka believes Messi should face the same level of scrutiny as Neymar
Anelka told RMC: ‘Today we demand from Neymar, but we can do the same with Messi. Since the beginning of the season it is not extraordinary either. There is a player who has six Ballon d’Ors and finally is not so extraordinary.’
Neymar has also found consistency difficult to come by so far this season, with the Brazilian star having scored just once in six league games.
Anelka, however, has backed the 29-year-old to overcome those difficulties and insisted that he retains the backing of coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Anelka said: ‘He is going through a difficult moment. If the coach thinks he has to play to regain his level, he makes him play. Putting it aside or replacing it to break their morale is not going to fix things.
‘In addition, he has a great salary, he is a star of French and world football. He is one of the best players in the league, although right now he is fighting to show it.
‘He can do nothing, as afterwards he can do everything on the field. You never know what will happen to him on the pitch. Pochettino trusts him and even without Neymar being well, the team continues to win.’
Anelka admitted that Neymar is going through a difficult moment but has faith in him
When Messi joined PSG the prospect of him playing alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe was a mouthwatering one, but Pochettino is still waiting for his side to develop more cohesion.
Mbappe has continued to impress this season, scoring five league goals, and it is anticipated that Messi and Neymar’s impact will improve as the season progresses.
PSG are top of Ligue 1 by seven points and host Lille on Friday. They are also top of their Champions League group,
Messi and Mbappe were both absent from training on Thursday, with the latter suffering with an ear, nose and throat infection.