Paris. The moment of the evening? Shortly before eleven on Tuesday, there are still a few minutes left to play and Manchester City are pushing for compensation. The English champions are 0: 2 behind in this most spectacular duel of the second match day of the Champions League. It should be a goal against the newly rich fellow sufferers of Paris Saint-Germain, and the free kick from half-right position is just right. Riyad Mahrez prepares the ball for execution. It is 20 meters to the gate; a Paris wall is built to defend itself, including the poor pig, who lies directly behind it, so that the ball does not go into the goal even if everyone in the wall jumps up and the shooter shoots flat.
The poor pig is called: Lionel Messi.
The best soccer player in the world is not too bad for the most ungrateful job. This is the most interesting news from the Prinzenpark in Paris: that the big Messi can make himself so small if it serves the success of his colleagues. A few minutes earlier he scored the second goal for PSG, a typical Messi goal with dribbling, one-two and a perfect finish. Nobody doubted that Messi could still play at the highest level at the age of 34, even if PSG had not scored a goal in three previous games. But that after 20 years in Barcelona with all the titles and praises at his new club he is not too good to work at the bottom, in the most literal sense – who would have thought?
PSG versus City was a game at the highest level with rather little acceptance by the traditionalists. Both clubs are about as popular in Europe as RB Leipzig is in the Bundesliga, which is a bit unfair because Leipzig has taken on the ox tour from fourth division to the Bundesliga. Manchester and PSG were just there and poured Arab money on them. But both are now playing at a level that is difficult to beat and on Tuesday in matching colors: PSG in FC Barcelona’s blue and red, City in Real Madrid’s flower white. PSG against City, that could be a European Clásico.
Traditional customers find it difficult to accept this claim, but the results don’t lie. Barça flatteringly lost their first game in the Champions League just under 3-0 against Bayern Munich, Real were not good enough for Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol on Tuesday in a sensational 1: 2 at home in the Bernabéu. Again: not good enough for the Moldovan champion! Who could spell it without errors by Tuesday?
The world is changing and with it football, whether we like it or not. As long as it is as nice to watch as the Parisians 2-0 in the petrodollar duel against City, the world will be able to live with it. And perhaps compensate for their justified displeasure with the fact that the greatest football player in the world is not too good for the poorest pig on the pitch.