Lionel Messi is football but fans expected more, says PSG coach Christophe Galtier

Lionel Messi during PSG's Ligue 1 game against Auxerre in May 2021.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier has defended Lionel Messi from his critics, but admits the club's fans 'expected more' from the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Messi is set to leave PSG in the summer after two seasons at the Parc des Princes and although the current campaign has been better than his debut year in Paris, the move has not lived up to expectations.

"Leo has been irreproachable throughout the season in his effort in training," Galtier said ahead of PSG's Ligue 1 game against Strasbourg. "Leo is football. It's true. I have seen it every day in training, I've also seen it in our matches."

The former Barcelona forward scored just 11 times in 34 appearances for PSG in 2021-22, with only six strikes in Ligue 1, but has fared better this term with 20 goals in his 39 games for the French champions.

"This year, he has great statistics," Galtier said. "It is already much, much better than last season. I think Leo has had a very good season with PSG, but people still expect a lot more from him."

In particular, it had been hoped that Messi could take the club to a new level in Europe, but PSG have been knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League in both of his seasons at the Parc des Princes.

The 35-year-old has the option of a third season at PSG, but is expected to leave this summer, with former club Barcelona linked.

MLS and Saudi Arabia are also understood to be possible destinations for the World Cup winner as he winds down his career.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.