Messi is easier to defend against now - Rami

Messi is easier to defend against now - Rami

Lionel Messi is easier to defend against now, according to former Sevilla centre-half Adil Rami, who says that the Paris Saint-Germain star has evolved into "more of a passer".

Messi is widely regarded as one of the finest footballers to ever grace the game, having scored 672 goals in 778 games for Barcelona between 2005 and 2021 while winning numerous La Liga and Champions League titles.

The Argentine also scooped the Ballon d'Or six times during his time at Camp Nou, but left the club amid their ongoing financial troubles in the summer before joining PSG on a free transfer, and has endured a slow start to life at Parc des Princes.

Messi has only scored once in his first five outings for Mauricio Pochettino's side, and Troyes defender Rami believes he is no longer a constant threat in the final third of the pitch.

The Frenchman came up against the diminutive magician 12 times in total during spells at Valencia and Sevilla without being on the winning side once, but isn't expecting to have as many problems when they meet again in Ligue 1.

"Granted, I never won, but there were draws and [chuckling] I got four or five shirts from him," Rami has told Ligue 1's official website.

"He was too strong, back then he was always behind my back. He'd be offside and then he would move back to touch the halfway line and then go again.

"Now he's more of a passer, so it's easier for defenders as we can wait.

"I don't think he's able to do his slalom moves so much."

The Troyes star has also expressed his admiration for Messi's new team-mate Kylian Mbappe, whose future at PSG has been the subject of much speculation in recent months with Real Madrid eager to lure him to Santiago Bernabeu.

Rami was pleased to see the World Cup winner stay at Parc des Princes beyond the summer transfer deadline, and thinks he can go on to reach a new level while playing alongside Messi.

"I am a big fan of Kylian Mbappe and I deeply hope that he will have a Ballon d'Or and I am happy he stayed at PSG because Messi is going to give him so much," he said.

"Honestly, if Mbappe understands his role then the team will hurt others a lot."
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