'He will always be the best player in the world' - Xavi defends Messi from PSG criticism

Messi missed a penalty against Real Madrid in UCL
Messi missed a penalty against Real Madrid in UCL / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Barcelona manager, Xavi Hernandez has come to the defence of former team-mate and Argentina icon, Lionel Messi after the striker has come in for criticism for his performances at Paris Saint-Germain following his transfer in the summer.

Messi has not had the best of starts to life in Paris and endured another frustrating night against Real Madrid in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League on Tuesday, missing from the penalty spot on the night.

Messi has now gone eight games without scoring or assisting a goal against his long-term rivals and despite such numbers, Xavi has defended the player - revealing that such intense scrutiny and criticism was not unusual.

"It is normal. It is normal for Paris Saint-Germain to have criticism and it is normal being Leo Messi and having to face criticism. If people only take the penalty, it's normal for there to be criticism. I wish him the best. For me he will always be the best player in the world," he said in a press conference.

Despite the criticism aimed at Messi, the 34-year-old has still managed to score seven goals in 21 appearances in all competitions so far, and there is no doubt that he will need to recapture his old form if PSG are to win their maiden Champions League trophy come the end of the season.