Paris in February is probably the most romantic place on Earth, yet nothing that’ll happen in the city this month will take the breath away like Lionel Messi.
Couples from all over France, Europe and beyond will congregate in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, hoping to spark some romance into their relationships.
While some will have visions of proposing at the top of the Eiffel Tower or a steamy rendezvous in one of Paris’ many hotels, the savvier will trek to the Parc des Princes on February 14 to see PSG take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
More specifically, they’ll pilgrimage to see Messi. The 35-year-old led Argentina to World Cup glory less than two months ago but, if anything, the euphoria of finally completing football has only spurred him on to new heights.
PSG were somewhat toiling against Toulouse when the pint-sized genius decided to stop all the pissing about and stamp his class on proceedings.
Acraf Hakimi, who had levelled the scores with an excellent equaliser, played a cute one-two with a team-mate and meandered through the Toulouse defence with the care-free nature of a man taking a country walk after a heavy Sunday lunch.
Toulouse jockeyed and hustled, never daring to break their shape and actually attempt to dispossess Hakimi. Their foolishness would be swiftly, and deservedly, punished.
Having lured everybody into a false sense of security with one of his trademark ambles, Messi suddenly burst into life and snapped up the loose ball like a starved Hungry Hippo.
One swish of his left boot and the ball was nestling in the Toulouse net. Game won. Nearly 50,000 spectators had a collective orgasm and Messi received the acclaim of his team-mates.
The best footballers are geniuses because they make the game appear simple. By that metric, Messi truly is the GOAT.
No warning, no backlift, just a wand of a left foot 🪄💫
He makes it look so effortless 😌 pic.twitter.com/ImqhpnufSo
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 4, 2023
“There was suffering for several years playing against Messi,” Sergio Ramos recently told PSG TV, ” I am now enjoying him. He is the best player football has ever produced.”
No wonder PSG are desperate to keep him. Club director Luis Campos has confirmed that the club remain in talks with Messi over extending his stay in Paris, as his contract expires at the end of the current campaign.
“At the moment, we are in discussions with Messi for his extension,” Campos told Telefoot. “I would like to keep him in this project, I can’t hide it. We are talking at the moment to achieve this goal, and continue to have him with us.”
Another figure who’d be delighted to keep Messi around is PSG manager Christophe Galtier, who cheerily admitted his side is built around the World Cup winner.
“I ask the team to play for Leo and work for him,” Galtier said. “He must be exempted from certain tasks. His partners must redouble their efforts to recover and create movement so that he find passes, which are so rare in today’s football, in such small spaces.”
With Messi’s tremendous talent, anything less would be a travesty on par with defacing the Mona Lisa with crayons.
So, if you’re thinking of heading to Paris on a romantic break this month, eschew the stereotypical trappings of Valentine’s and see Messi in action while you still can.
And tell your partner to thank you later.
By Michael Lee