Lionel Messi ignores Mauricio Pochettino handshake after being subbed on PSG home debut

Lionel Messi refused to shake hands with Mauricio Pochettino after being substituted as PSG came from behind to beat Lyon on his home debut.

While his eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, has wasted little time in making Manchester his kingdom once more following his return to United from Juventus, the Argentine has experienced a more modest beginning to life in Paris.

Lionel Messi shrugs towards Mauricio Pochettino after his substitution

Having arrived lacking fitness in mid-August after his shock Barcelona exit, Messi, 34, only made his first start in Wednesday’s Champions League opener in Bruges, as PSG were held to a 1-1 draw.

Now, more than a month after being unveiled in Paris, Messi, 34, was granted a hero’s reception as he finally made his first appearance at the Parc des Princes, starting in attack alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Messi started in a No.10 position with Neymar to his left, Angel Di Maria to his right and Mbappe leading the line.

The 34-year-old was at the heart of most of PSG’s attacks and had his moments during the first half, notably being denied by Anthony Lopes when clean through on goal just before the half hour mark.

Shortly afterwards, the former Barcelona superstar hit the crossbar with a 30-yard free kick, before PSG were hit by a sucker punch early in the second period.

Karl Toko Ekambi raced down the left wing and found a low cross, which Lucas Paqueta turned past a helpless Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Neymar would equalise shortly after, the Brazilian winning a penalty before coolly converting from 12 yards.

Messi had noticeably tired during the second half, but was surprised and noticeably unimpressed when his No.30 was shown on 75 minutes, as Pochettino brought on Achraf Hakimi.

Messi, frustrated, made his way to the touchline, and appeared to snub Pochettino, as the ex-Spurs boss went to shake hands.

Messi day cut an unhappy figure on the bench for the remainder of the game, which PSG duly won as another substitute, Mauro Icardi, headed home from close range in the 93rd minute, to continue their 100 percent start to the new Ligue 1 campaign.

Speaking after the game, Pochettino suggested that he withdrew Messi in order to protect him for future fixtures.

“I took the decision to take Leo off to protect him for possible injuries. We have important games coming up and we want to protect him,” he explained.

“These are decisions that we make for the good of the team. Everyone knows we have great players, we have to make choices. Sometimes it may appeal, other times a little less.

“Afterwards, Messi told me he was fine with the decision.”

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