Lionel Messi admits having had a “difficult adaptation” in France

(CNN) — Lionel Messi struggled to adapt to a new environment at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after joining the French club in 2021, the Argentine striker said in a interview with beIN Sports airing this week.

Messi won two league titles during his time at PSG, scoring 21 goals and providing 20 assists in all competitions last season.

However, he failed to bring Champions League success to the club and his time in the French capital ended acrimoniously when he was suspended for taking an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia, for which he later apologized.

Lionel Messi attends the Ligue 1 game between PSG and Clermont Foot on June 3. Julian Finney/Getty Images

“The truth is that it was a very difficult adaptation, much more than I expected,” Messi told beIN of his move to PSG two years ago.

“Despite having people I knew in the locker room and having a relationship with them, it was difficult for me to adapt to the new change, arriving late and not having any pre- season.

“Well adjusting to the new club, new way of playing, my new teammates and the city at the start was very difficult for me and for my whole family.

Earlier this month, Messi announced he would be moving to MLS club Inter Miami, reportedly making his United States debut in July.

The 36-year-old, who spent 17 seasons at FC Barcelona before joining PSG, has not always been well received by fans in France and has even been booed in some of his recent matches.

Messi during his presentation at the Parc des Princes from PSG in August 2021. Credit: Paris Saint-Germain Football/Getty Images

“I think from the start it was something very nice, like the reception, which I repeated several times,” Messi added.

“So people started to treat me differently, part of the Parisian public. I think the vast majority continue to see me and treat me as they did at the start, but there has been a disconnect with a large part of the Parisian fans, which was obviously not my intention, far from it. he commented.

“It happened as it had happened before with [los compañeros de equipo Kylian] Mbappé and Neymar too. And I know that’s his way of acting, what are we going to do to him. I stay with all the people who respected me, as I have always respected everyone since my arrival and this is nothing more than an anecdote”.

CNN has contacted PSG for comment.

CNN’s David Close and Ray Sanchez contributed to the report.

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