Lionel Messi has endured a slow start at Paris Saint-Germain because his surprise, painful departure from Barcelona over the summer is still ‘raw’ for him, Thierry Henry has claimed.
The superstar was recently crowned the winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or, but he has failed to hit the ground running in Ligue 1 and has scored just six goals across all competitions after joining on a free transfer.
And as he continues to try and burst back into his usual form, former Barcelona and Arsenal striker Henry has likened Messi’s struggles to a difficult patch he experienced during his own career on the pitch.
Lionel Messi may be struggling at PSG because of his ‘raw’ Barcelona exit, Thierry Henry says
Henry spent almost a decade with Arsenal, winning the league title in 2002 and 2004, and bid a tearful farewell to the club when he exited.
‘When you leave a place that you’ve been at a young age for a very long time, that you never thought you were going to leave, it takes a lot out of you emotionally,’ Henry told GQ.
‘You need to realize and understand where you are, adapt to a new league and adapt to a new team and digest the move.
Henry, now a pundit, endured a similar experience when leaving Arsenal after his superb spell
‘You saw he cried when he left, those were not fake tears. He cried. It takes a little time to adapt and understand, even if you are him.
‘But you need to understand that the guy is a human being also. And that emotionally, sometimes, we all do get touched by something.
‘Leaving Barcelona, it’s still raw for him. But I believe he will turn it over. I hope he will turn it up. I’m confident in him.’
Messi has scored just one goal in Ligue 1 and, despite starring in Europe, has started slowly
Messi walked away from his boyhood club after a tearful press conference, in which he declared he was ‘not ready’ to move on after believing he would sign a new deal.
‘This is really difficult for me after so many years, being here my entire life,’ the 34-year-old, who was at the Nou Camp since the age of 13, said.
‘I’m not ready for this. This year, my family were convinced we were going to stay here at home.’
The star bid a tearful farewell to Barcelona after it was revealed he would not sign a new deal
Henry has also revealed he feels sympathy towards Messi because the quality of a new club does not always help a player adapt to their new home quickly.
‘[It was the] same with me when I left Arsenal to go to Barcelona, it took me a minute to get used to my surroundings,’ he added.
‘I never thought that I was going to leave Arsenal, so joining Barcelona… Was I in a great club, in a great town? Hell yeah. But it took me a little time to digest it.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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