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Lionel Messi admits that he was "embarrassed" by PSG guard of honour

Lionel Messi admits that he was
© Reuters
Paris Saint-Germain attacker Lionel Messi admits that he was "embarrassed" to receive a guard of honour from his teammates after winning the World Cup with Argentina.

Paris Saint-Germain attacker Lionel Messi has admitted that he was "embarrassed" to receive a guard of honour from his Parisiens teammates upon his return from the World Cup.

The 35-year-old took part in the globe's biggest footballing tournament for the final time in Qatar, where he finally achieved his lifelong dream of becoming world champion.

Messi also won the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player, having scored seven goals and provided three assists in seven games, including a brace in the final against France.

Messi scored his penalty in the shootout as Argentina edged the dethroned champions following an enthralling 3-3 draw, helping La Albiceleste win the trophy for the third time after 1978 and 1986.

After being granted a lengthy period of rest following his successful exploits, Messi was greeted with a guard of honour by PSG players and staff as he returned to training at Camp des Loges.

The 35-year-old smiled as he walked through the guard of applause, before he was presented with a golden trophy by the club's football advisor Luis Campos.

However, speaking to Argentinian outlet Ole, the former Barcelona man has admitted that he did not feel entirely comfortable being the centre of attention, although he did appreciate the gesture.

"I don't like those things. Although I obviously appreciate it and it was something very nice. I kind of feel embarrassed to be the center of attention and to be treated that way," Messi explained. "But it was nice to have the recognition of all the people who work there with us and of my colleagues from Paris."

Messi gave an emotional farewell to Barcelona in 2021, having been forced to leave the Catalan giants due to their financial difficulties, and he failed to live up to his usual high standards in his first season in Paris.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner only scored six goals in his first season in Ligue 1, but he has thrived under Christophe Galtier as part of PSG's famed front three this season.

Lionel Messi in action for Paris Saint-Germain on November 2, 2022© Reuters

Messi scored his 15th goal of the season in all tournaments during Saturday's victory over Toulouse, where his usual trifecta teammates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were both absent due to injury.

The Argentine netted the winning goal in that 2-1 success after an initial Toulouse opener from Branco van den Boomen, and he also has 14 assists to show from his 24 appearances in the 2022-23 campaign.

Following Saturday's win, Galtier revealed that he asks the rest of his team to work harder in order to create space for Messi, telling reporters: "I ask the team to play for Leo and to work for him.

"We have to free him of certain tasks. His teammates have to increase their efforts in getting the ball back and create movement so he can play those passes, which are so rare in today's football, in such tight spaces."

Messi now boasts a total of 26 goals and 29 assists in 58 matches for PSG since 2021, and the French champions are working to tie him down to a new contract beyond the end of the season.

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Lionel Messi in action for Paris Saint-Germain on September 10, 2022
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