Frenchman Adil Rami has claimed that Lionel Messi is easier to defend against now, despite the defender’s poor record against the Argentine.
Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest to grace the game, scoring 672 goals in 778 games and winning a staggering 35 trophies during his 21 years at the Nou Camp.
But the Barcelona legend has struggled in a slow start to life at the Parc des Princes, finding the back of the net just once in five outings for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
And now, Rami believes that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner is no longer a threat.
The Troyes centre-back has come up against Messi 12 times during spells for Valencia and Sevilla and never emerged victorious.
But Rami is set to face the forward again in Ligue 1 and this time he isn’t expecting to have any problems defending the footballing magician.
‘Granted, I never won, but there were draws and [chuckling] I got four or five shirts from him,’ Rami has told Ligue 1’s official website.
‘He was too strong, back then he was always behind my back. He’d be offside and then he would move back to touch the halfway line and then go again.
‘Now he’s more of a passer, so it’s easier for defenders as we can wait.
‘I don’t think he’s able to do his slalom moves so much.’
Messi only bagged his maiden PSG goal at the end of September as the French side beat Manchester City 2-0 in the Champions League.
But naturally, the Argentinian icon scored it in style, as he secured a big three points in Group A, sunk his old boss Pep Guardiola and got the Parc des Princes rocking.
PSG’s acquisition of Messi made many believe the French giants would be unstoppable this season.
Forming an attacking trident alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the Parisians are expected to blow the competition apart on both a domestic and European level.
But that hasn’t proved to be the case so far as they struggle to get their frontline clicking this season.
With nine Ligue 1 games and two Champions League matches down so far, PSG have three top scorers with four goals apiece – and neither Messi nor Neymar feature.
Mbappe, as expected, is up there with 12 shots on target this season from their opening nine games which compares to Neymar and Messi who both have just two from their respective five and three games so far.
And, Rami didn’t hesitate to express his admiration for the French starlet, who he was pleased to see stayed in the French capital this summer.
‘I am a big fan of Kylian Mbappe and I deeply hope that he will have a Ballon d’Or and I am happy he stayed at PSG because Messi is going to give him so much,’ Rami said.
‘Honestly, if Mbappe understands his role then the team will hurt others a lot.’