Lionel Messi and Neymar were slated by the French press for their anonymous displays in Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League loss against Bayern Munich.
The home side were outplayed for the majority of the tie at the Parc des Princes stadium as Kingsley Coman’s strike early in the second half settled the first leg of the Round of 16 tie. It was a result that puts Christophe Galtier’s side as underdogs ahead of next month’s second leg – with both PSG stars leading an apology to the club’s ultras after the first leg.
It was a result that continues an alarming slide of form for the Ligue 1 leaders. Since the turn of the year they have now lost five matches across all competitions, including three defeats in the space of a week, and risk ending the season with another European failure and underperformance in Europe.
Neymar and Messi were largely anonymous throughout the match. PSG offered nothing in attack until the closing stages of the match, when Kylian Mbappe – who had been expected to sit out the game entirely – was introduced as a second half substitute.
Neymar was handed a ‘3/10’ by L’Equipe – the joint lowest rating of any player. The French media outlet explained that he “offered solutions throughout the game between the lines, but his movements with the ball were not effective. The Germans did not spare his life. He lost possession a lot.” Le Parisien were slightly more generous, ranking him as 4/10, but lamenting that he “gave away turnovers continuously” during the match.
Messi was also handed a miserly 3/10 by L’Equipe, who blamed him for "minimal influence in the match with the ball until the entry of Kylian Mbappe". Again, Le Parisien went slightly higher – giving the Argentine 4.5/10 – but stating that Messi "was never able to develop his game" during the 90 minutes.
Messi lost the ball more times during the match (18) than any other player with Neymar (15) rating second on that metric. For L'Equipe, "Messi has not been the same player since the beginning of the year" as the report queried if he over-exerted himself physically in the World Cup and that overexertion has had consequences regarding his performance in Paris.
After the match, Messi and Neymar led a delegation of PSG players to stay behind on the pitch and go over to the club’s ultras – it was a mix of apologising for their performance and defeat, alongside thanking the club’s fans for their backing throughout the match.