Michael Owen has suggested Lionel Messi’s arrival has done little to tip the scales in Paris Saint-Germain’s favour following his opening day no-show in the Champions League.
Messi’s arrival is hoped to be the final piece in the PSG jigsaw as they look to be crowned European champions for the first time.
The Argentine icon joins Kylian Mbappe and Neymar to form what – on paper at least – looks the most devastating front three in world football.
But on his Champions League debut for the club, Messi failed to hit the heights as the French outfit were held 1-1 by Group A underdogs Club Brugge.
Ander Herrera put PSG in front in Belgium, but the hosts equalised shortly after and were good value for their point.
Speaking after the draw, Owen claimed that despite their undeniable talents as individuals, as a front three, they are weaker than they were in previous seasons.
He told BT Sport: “As much as we drool over them, this PSG team with those forwards, they’re all phenomenal players in their own right.
“But three together makes it weaker for me and I don’t really understand why they’re one of the favourites for it (the Champions League).
“I think the English teams ( Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Man United) are far, far superior.”
Owen’s former Manchester United teammate Rio Ferdinand strongly disagreed, adding: “If you get it right behind them, if you get the right mix with (Marco) Verratti, (Idrissa) Gueye, (Gini) Wijnaldum, you’ve got legs, you’ve got people who can transfer the ball through the pitch to the great players at the top who can cause the damage.
“Yes you need to get a bit of work from them at times, coming back, but I’ve seen Neymar do it. Mbappe is young enough to be able to do it, he has to.
“I think that’s (Mauricio) Pochettino’s remit, demand it from these players. That sets apart the good managers from the greats. Can you get these guys who people assume don’t want to work, working.”
Ferdinand continued: “There have been too many occasions when they haven’t worked hard enough. We watched them at Anfield, they were walking about. That’s the problem.
“I just believe that Messi coming here, Mbappe will be saying ‘I’ve got to show Messi what I’m about’. Neymar, when he played at Barcelona with Messi, was a phenomenal runner off the ball.
“You’d like to think that they can come back into their games. If it does, it’s going to be difficult for everybody else. That’s a big if.”