Lionel Messi Debuts as Kylian Mbappe Scores Twice in PSG's Win vs. Stade de Reims

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi looks on during the French L1 football match between Stade de Reims and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims, northern France on August 29, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Lionel Messi made his Paris Saint-Germain debut in a 2-0 win over Stade de Reims at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, on Sunday.

After starting the match on the bench, Messi came on in the 66th minute for Neymar with PSG leading 2-0. Despite playing away from home, Messi received a huge reaction from the crowd when he entered:


🤩THIS IS IT!!! PURE HISTORY! <br> <br>Lionel Messi makes his PSG debut 🐐<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SDRPSG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SDRPSG</a> <a href="https://t.co/4X6h5vTPOC">pic.twitter.com/4X6h5vTPOC</a>

Messi did not figure into the scoring for PSG, but he did look dangerous on a few occasions, including this attacking sequence with Kylian Mbappe:


🔥 Messi 🤝 Mbappé 🔥<br><br>📺 Don't miss a second! <a href="https://twitter.com/StadeDeReims?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StadeDeReims</a> 🆚 <a href="https://twitter.com/PSG_English?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PSG_English</a> is LIVE NOW on beIN SPORTS! 🔥<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SDRPSG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SDRPSG</a> <a href="https://t.co/dmUARAz3FQ">pic.twitter.com/dmUARAz3FQ</a>

Despite Messi not adding to his staggering career goal total, his debut was a historic moment nonetheless since it was his first professional match playing for a club outside the Barcelona system.

While there was some thought entering the day that PSG would start the attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, the decision was made to bring Messi in off the bench ahead of his participation in World Cup qualifiers for Argentina.

With Messi not in the starting lineup, Mbappe was the star, opening the scoring in the 16th minute on a header off a feed from Angel Di Maria:


⚽️ Un certero cabezazo de <a href="https://twitter.com/KMbappe?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KMbappe</a> abre el marcador para la visita<a href="https://twitter.com/StadeDeReims?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StadeDeReims</a> 0-1 <a href="https://twitter.com/PSG_espanol?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PSG_espanol</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SDRPSG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SDRPSG</a> ⤵️ <a href="https://t.co/mTUIeTwv6t">pic.twitter.com/mTUIeTwv6t</a>

Mbappe extended the PSG lead to 2-0 in the 63rd minute with a back-post tap-in off a pass from Achraf Hakimi:


⚽️ ¡Y llegó el segundo! <a href="https://twitter.com/KMbappe?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KMbappe</a> sella su doblete<a href="https://twitter.com/StadeDeReims?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StadeDeReims</a> 0-2 <a href="https://twitter.com/PSG_espanol?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PSG_espanol</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SDRPSG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SDRPSG</a> ⤵️ <a href="https://t.co/njEySJUFIr">pic.twitter.com/njEySJUFIr</a>

Messi signed a two-year contract with PSG earlier this month after Barcelona was unable to honor the contract agreement it made with him due to club financial issues.

It was massive news in the soccer world since the 34-year-old native of Argentina established himself as arguably the greatest player of all time in 17 seasons with Barca's main club.

Messi scored 672 goals in 778 matches across all competitions for Barcelona and helped lead the Blaugrana to 10 La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles.

While the focus was primarily on Messi, there was an intriguing subplot in the form of Mbappe's status with PSG as well.

Prior to the match, Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports reported that Mbappe felt he was being held "against his will" at PSG rather than being transferred to Real Madrid as he wished.

Solhekol noted that Real Madrid has made a total offer of €170 million for Mbappe and has set a deadline of Sunday night for PSG to respond.

The 22-year-old Mbappe, who is a French national, has reportedly said it is his dream to play for Real Madrid.

Regardless of Mbappe's feelings regarding Real Madrid, it did not impact his play Sunday, as he was the driving force behind PSG improving to 5-0-0 on the season and remaining atop the Ligue 1 table.

Meanwhile, Reims suffered its first defeat of the season after recording three consecutive draws to start the campaign.

Messi's first opportunity to play in front of the home crowd at Parc de Princes in Paris will come Sept. 12 when PSG hosts Clermont Foot.

Before that, Messi will play World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia on Sept. 2, 5 and 9.