The Blancos striker has jumped to the defence of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner amid question marks over his form at Parc des Princes
Lionel Messi critics “don’t understand anything about football!”, according to Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, who has backed the Paris Saint-Germain star to succeed in France.
Messi joined PSG on a free transfer following his surprise departure from Barcelona in the summer, embarking on a new challenge after spending the first 20 years of his career at Camp Nou.
The 34-year-old, who inspired Barca to 35 trophies while breaking numerous records for goals and assists, has been unable to reach his best level at PSG in the first half of the 2021-22 campaign but Benzema has no doubt that he will eventually adjust to unfamiliar surroundings.
Benzema enjoyed many memorable El Clasico battles against Messi while he was at Barca, and the pair will renew hostilities when Madrid face PSG in the Champions League round of 16 next month.
“How is Messi not going to succeed?” Benzema told Telefoot when quizzed on Messi’s underwhelming form. “It’s just a time of adaptation, because he hasn’t scored many goals.
“But look what he does on the pitch. In any case, you can’t criticise a player like that, someone who criticises Messi doesn’t understand anything about football.”
Messi has made 16 appearances across all competitions for PSG to date, recording six goals and five assists.
The Argentina international has still been a force in the Champions League, scoring five in five group stage outings, but only has one goal to his name in Ligue 1 competition.
Niggling injuries have played their part in hampering Messi, and he has missed the start of the new year for PSG due to a positive Covid-19 test.
Messi has been named in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad for a meeting with Reims on Sunday, though, with the PSG boss telling a press conference of the forward’s condition: “He trained well during the week with the squad and I’m happy he’s back with us.”