- Lionel Messi was recently criticized when PSG treated him after the World Cup
- Nasser Al-Khelaifi has now hit back, but admitted it was a ‘sensitive’ time
- Listen to the latest episode of the Mail Sport podcast It all starts!
Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has hit back at Lionel Messi’s claim that he was the only member of Argentina’s World Cup-winning squad not to be recognized by his club.
The 36-year-old and the Albiceleste defeated France in Qatar last winter to win the 2022 World Cup while still at PSG.
In a recent interview with Migue Granados on OLGAMessi admitted he was ‘not happy’ at the Parc des Princes and appeared disappointed with his treatment after the World Cup.
“It was understandable,” he said. “We were in a situation where we (Argentina) became world champions and it was our fault that they (France) didn’t become champions again.”
Both Messi and his PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe played a thrilling final in Qatar, scoring five goals between them as Argentina won on penalties.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi has hit back at Lionel Messi’s claim that he was denied recognition by PSG after Argentina’s World Cup victory
The legendary striker felt he was the ‘only’ team member not celebrated by his club
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Messi continued: “I was the only player not recognized by his club compared to the other 25 Argentine players.”
Al-Khelaifi has now given a different version of events. Carried between quotation marks Football Spain, he said: ‘AAs everyone saw, because we even published a video, we celebrated Messi during training, and we also celebrated him in private.
‘But with all due respect: we are a French club. It was of course sensitive to celebrate in the stadium. We must respect the country he defeated, his teammates in the French team and also our supporters.”
Messi scored 32 goals in 75 appearances during his time in the French capital, winning back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.
However, he was unable to lead PSG past the last 16 of the Champions League and left for MLS side Inter Miami in June.
Messi’s time at the club has not been without controversy, with the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner being suspended for two weeks earlier this year after making an unsanctioned trip to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, suggestions of a fractured relationship with fellow strikers Mbappe and Neymar dominated the final months of last season.
He has already led his new club to success in the first Leagues Cup, scoring ten goals in seven games.
However, the legendary striker will not play in his side’s match with Orlando City on Sunday after being forced off in their last match due to muscle fatigue. His absence has drastically reduced the price of tickets for the match.
Messi has already won the League Cup with new club Inter Miami and has 11 goals in 12 games for the MLS side