Why did PSG fans boo Lionel Messi?

Lionel Messi and his superstar PSG teammates have been subject to boos from the Parisian faithful
Lionel Messi and his superstar PSG teammates have been subject to boos from the Parisian faithful / Christian Liewig - Corbis/GettyImages

After thrusting his already unquestionable legacy into an impenetrable realm in December, Lionel Messi probably isn't too bothered by a few disgruntled Parisians.

The magic man's fairytale campaign in Qatar has all but rendered him the greatest footballer to ever do it. International failure was the only blemish on Messi's otherwise pristine CV, but then he lead Argentina to Copa America and World Cup glory in back-to-back years. Football? He's completed it, mate.

When we look back on Messi's stellar career, the overwhelming majority of us will reminisce over his Barcelona days, and, of course, his majestic few weeks in Qatar. His spell at PSG, while cool from a commercial standpoint, will largely be forgotten. The 35-year-old has been productive during his second season at the club, but not even his greatness will allow PSG to reach their ultimate goal.

The PSG Messi experiment will probably end without a Champions League trophy after Bayern Munich dumped Les Parisiens out of the competition in the round of 16. The Argentine is expected to leave the French capital in the summer, with his next destination not yet clear.

Nevertheless, despite his seeming invincibility, Messi has not been immune from criticism in recent times. PSG supporters love a boo, and Messi was a distinct target ahead of their Ligue 1 clash against Rennes last weekend.

Why did PSG fans boo Lionel Messi before Rennes clash?

Messi was booed while his name was read out before PSG's Ligue 1 clash with Rennes at the weekend. Les Parisiens subsequently lost 2-0 with the Argentine storming down the tunnel after the game.

Much of the supporters' discontent revolves around the club's performance in the Champions League. The French giants went out with a whimper against Bayern in the round of 16, with fans believing Messi didn't pull his weight when it mattered most.

However, this is hardly a novel concept. PSG supporters love to slander their superstars in the wake of continental disappointment. While Kylian Mbappe remains an untouchable hero, both Neymar and Messi were jeered on home soil after they were eliminated from the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid last season.

What these 'ultras' attempt to achieve by booing their protagonists is unknown, and PSG boss Christophe Galtier was particularly critical of the jeers.

“Whistles and boos against Leo Messi and the players? For what reason? Last season is last season. There is no reason to boo our players, they gave their all. We were eliminated because Bayern Munich arrived much better than us over both legs," he said.

What has the reaction been to Messi being booed by PSG fans?

It's fair to say that the general perception has been one of bemusement. Imagine having a player like Lionel Messi represent your club and you decide to boo him. For the vast majority of us, that is simply inconceivable.

Many who comment on PSG have come out and supported the fans for booing Messi, though, including former winger Jerome Rothen.

"Whether it's Lionel Messi or another player, he can be whistled," he said on RMC. "Should we refrain from whistling because it's Messi? Why? Because his name is Messi? Whether you don't give a damn or not, whether you're good or not, whether you're invested or not, the supporter is there just to open his mouth and applaud?

"The fans shouldn't say anything? They buy popcorn, eat burgers, drink their soda and it doesn't matter? Of course Lionel Messi can be whistled, he's a player like any other. Otherwise, we have to do something else, find another sport. There will be fewer supporters behind him, like me, and many who remain unsatisfied since he signed for PSG."

Will Lionel Messi stay at PSG?

At the moment, no one knows what the future holds for Lionel Messi. He will obviously be a player in demand because he is, well, Lionel Messi.

The reports coming out of PSG have generally suggested the club are keen to extend the Argtentinian's contract beyond this season.

However, L'Equipe have recently claimed that the club are starting to waver on that resolve and may allow him to leave instead.

Should Messi become a free agent, it appears that a return to Barcelona or MLS club Inter Miami are his top options right now.