Lionel Messi has become the subject of a scathing attack from Paris Saint-Germain hero Jerome Rothen after the French giants crashed out of the Champions League on Wednesday night. Bayern Munich won both legs to advance in Europe despite PSG boasting one of the most fearsome frontlines of all time.
PSG have never won the Champions League and fans held out great hopes that Messi - a four-time winner of the competition - would get them over the line after his arrival from Barcelona in 2021.
The Argentine has therefore borne the brunt of the criticism due to the disappointing nature of the Bayern defeats. PSG lost both legs without even scoring a goal, which has left fans perplexed given that Messi is joined by attacking juggernauts Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the French capital.
After the final whistle, Rothen, who played almost 200 matches for PSG during his playing career, laid into Messi for failing to make the difference.
"Messi, we don't want it!," he told French radio station RMC. "He doesn't want to get involved in this club! He says he's 'acclimatised' now, but what are you acclimatised to? You scored 18 goals or 16 assists this year against Angers and Clermont? But in the matches that matter, you disappear!
"The joke is that we saw his matches at the World Cup, I saw his movements, how he invested himself. I don't mind it, considering it's the national team jersey, a separate thing.
Statistically speaking, the 35-year-old was rated as one of PSG's best performers over the course of the two legs, although the French giants underwhelmed on the whole.
Messi's future is shrouded in uncertainty as he comes towards the end of his PSG contract, which expires in June. Moves to MLS, Argentina or Saudi Arabia have all been touted but it is believed that the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is keen to remain in Europe.