Lionel Messi’s struggles this season have surprised Nicolas Anelka more than Cristiano Ronaldo’s toils at faltering Manchester United.
Both players have endured dips in form, albeit they are judged against the absurdly high standards the pair have set for many years.
The stellar duo each suffered exits from the Champions League at the last-16 stage to compound disappointing campaigns, although Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain look well set to win Ligue 1, in stark contrast to a United side who face a battle just to finish in the top four.
But while Ronaldo has maintained a respectable scoring record, with 12 goals in 24 Premier League games, Messi has netted just twice in the French top flight – a stage on which he was expected to shine.
Messi was jeered in his last outing for PSG, the club’s fans still reeling from having seen their side throw away a two-goal aggregate lead to Real Madrid in Europe.
Anelka, who started his career at PSG, acknowledges the pair are bound to slow down after so long at the top, but has been more taken aback by the apparent decline of 34-year-old Messi than he has by the form of his 37-year-old nemesis.
2 – This will be the second consecutive season that the Champions League quarter-finals will be played without Cristiano Ronaldo and/or Lionel Messi, which wasn’t the case in the previous 15 editions. Absences. #MUNATL pic.twitter.com/0NhxeQaWpq
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 15, 2022
“They have made their careers and I think they are both satisfied with what they have produced for 15 years,” Anelka told RMC’s Rothen s’enflamme show.
“I am more surprised by Messi than by Ronaldo.
“I thought that Messi was going to stroll in the French championship and that Ronaldo was going to struggle a little more because the Premier League, for me, is a more difficult championship in terms of the impact on and around the pitch.
“I think that there won’t be any more players like that who will dominate world football so much. They’ve been above everyone for 15 years; it’s logical to see them slowing down. It’s normal.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!