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Lionel Messi must adapt quickly to new environment at Paris St Germain: David James

Updated on: 15 February,2022 12:19 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Ronald Chettiar |

The Argentine great has struggled to find his feet at the French club

Lionel Messi must adapt quickly to new environment at Paris St Germain: David James

PSG's star forward Lionel Messi (centre) during a training session in Paris recently. Pic/AFP

Lionel Messi will renew his hostilities with Real Madrid when PSG take on the 13-time Champions League winners in the Last-16 clash tonight in Paris, but former England goalkeeper David James insists the Argentine great must adapt quickly to the new environment if the French club has to go far in the competition.    

Messi, who joined PSG from Barcelona last summer, has been a  nemesis for Real Madrid having scored 26 goals and made 14 assists in 45 games against them.

But since landing in Paris, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has struggled to find his feet at the French club. The Argentine great has managed mere seven goals in 20 matches for PSG.

James, 51, feels Messi's inability to adapt to his new surroundings is a concern for PSG. "What is interesting with the great players is that they score goals when it is required and produce great moments when the situation demands. But the most important thing for any great player is the ability to adapt. For example, [Portuguese superstar] Cristiano Ronaldo has managed to break records with whichever club he has played for. While Messi has been playing a similar style of football at Barcelona and now must adapt himself to the style of football which PSG play as he has been with them long enough to embed himself at his new club. We need to see if he can produce the same magic against Real like he did with Barcelona," said James during a virtual interaction on Monday.       

PSG will start favourites against a struggling Real Madrid, who have only one win in four matches across competitions. But the former Liverpool custodian reckons Los Blancos' experience in the competition might favour them. "This is an interesting tie with two teams, who are at the top of their league, playing each other. Though PSG are walking away with the French League, Real Madrid are still in the fight for the La Liga. But the issue with PSG is they are not getting quality competition on a week-to-week basis. And considering the quality of the teams in the Champions League, the question is are they ready for such a high level of competition. At their best, PSG will win this match, but Real Madrid, with all their experience, are used to being in this situation. But if Messi, Mbappe and Neymar are at their best, they will cause difficulties to Real Madrid," added James, who made 53 appearances for England.      

David James

Former England goalkeeper David James

James, who played for ISL team, Kerala Blasters [2014 and 2018 season], also spoke about his former team Manchester City, who have been a dominant force in English football over the decade, but have failed to win the elusive Champions League trophy.

When asked about the reason behind their inability to replicate that success in Europe, James said: "If you look at the success, a lot has gone right for them. I don't think things have gone necessarily wrong for them given the level of competition in the Champions League; the quality of the opposition and the likes of Real Madrid dominating for four years. It's just the beauty of European football that a side can dominate their domestic league but not in Europe."

Watch UEFA Champions League (Round 16 - 1st leg): Paris v Real Madrid – LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels on February 16, from 1:30 am IST

Watch UEFA Champions League (Round 16 - 1st leg): Sporting CP v Man City – LIVE on SONY TEN 1 (English) channels on February 16 from 1:30 am IST

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