Goalscoring great Lionel Messi is finally off the mark in France’s much-maligned top flight – more than three months after the superstar moved to a league in which many expected him to score for fun.
PSG’s sensational summer signing almost went a sixth appearance in Ligue 1 without scoring, waiting until three minutes before the end of his side’s 3-1 win over Nantes to strike.
Picking up possession outside the penalty area on the right, Messi cut inside and curled a beautiful effort into the far corner of the visitors’ net.
“I am delighted with this first goal – I really wanted it,” the former Barcelona talisman told Amazon Prime afterwards.
This view of Messi’s goal is beautiful to watch pic.twitter.com/sMWFxvF41D
— Marshall (@TheMessiguyy) November 20, 2021
MADE IN MESSI 😎🇦🇷 pic.twitter.com/mBtsHtsBmC
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_espanol) November 20, 2021
“I had several chances in this match and in previous matches. I am very happy with this first goal in Ligue 1.”
Messi was quick to point out that he has already scored for Paris in France courtesy of a glorious goal as part of a 2-0 win for PSG over Manchester City in the Champions League on September 28.
He also scored twice at the Parc des Princes against RB Leipzig the following month, but fitness, injuries and international call-ups have made his a stuttering campaign so far domestically.
LIONEL MESSI SCORES HIS FIRST LIGUE 1 GOAL 💥 pic.twitter.com/xxvUE5NmAO
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 20, 2021
MESSI OPENS HIS ACCOUNT 🔥 pic.twitter.com/P7MnqxhcwP
— 433 (@433) November 20, 2021
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had gone almost seven hours without a goal in the league until he gave Paris breathing space on a surprisingly tricky afternoon.
When captain Kylian Mbappe scored his seventh goal of the season with two minutes gone, midtable Nantes must have feared the worst against the runaway leaders.
La Maison Jaune held steady and equalized in the 76th minute through Randal Kolo Muani, shortly after home goalkeeper Keylor Navas had been sent off.
May 2005, a 17-year-old Lionel Messi scores his first league goal for Barcelona 🥺
Sixteen years later, he bags his first Ligue 1 goal 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/YlW23ZrNsK
— GOAL (@goal) November 20, 2021
Mbappé has more or less been the assister of all of Messi’s goals for PSG, you can see on the pitch that they enjoy playing with one another. pic.twitter.com/sDgzTqfrgp
— J. (@MessiIizer) November 20, 2021
That forced boss Mauricio Pochettino’s hand, substituting playmaker Neymar ahead of what looked like a tricky final 15 minutes or so.
As it was, Dennis Appiah’s own-goal restored PSG’s lead with nine minutes remaining.
Argentina skipper Messi provided a memorable final act – and he will be targeting a first away goal for his new club at Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.