Mauricio Pochettino said Lionel Messi brought a calmness to Paris St Germain as he made his much-anticipated debut in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Reims.
PSG were two goals up by the time Messi was introduced as a 66th-minute substitute for former Barcelona teammate Neymar, with Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe having netted twice as speculation continues to swirl over his own future.
The Argentina international’s arrival was greeted with enthusiastic cheers from the 6,000 travelling fans and while he was unable to claim a goal, Pochettino said Messi’s presence had an impact.
“I felt it as soon as he came on to the field and his first touches of the ball,” said the manager.
“He brought a calmness to the team. It’s very important to get off to a good start, even for him.
“He was happy and he is well integrated into the group. It was a question of common sense to give him his debut.”
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a two-year deal in the French capital on August 10 after ending a 21-year spell at Barca, but he had not played since winning the Copa America with Argentina on July 11.
Player ratings from the match can be seen in the picture gallery above. To view the next image, click on the arrows or swipe if on a mobile device.