Pochettino justifies hooking Lionel Messi as PSG star appeared to snub handshake

Mauricio Pochettino has justified his decision to substitute Lionel Messi during PSG's 2-1 win over Lyon – despite the star appearing to snub a handshake from the former Tottenham boss.

While his great rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, has wasted no time at all discovering his scoring boots at Manchester United, Messi has found things a little bit more difficult at PSG.

Messi has so far made three appearances for the Ligue 1 side following his summer move from Barcelona, but he's still yet to open his goalscoring account for his new employers.

Nevertheless, more than a month after being unveiled as PSG player, the Argentine was given a hero's welcome as he finally made his home debut at Parc des Princes, starting alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Messi began in the No.10 position with good pal Neymar to his left, fellow countryman Angel di Maria to his right and Mbappe down the middle.

The 34-year-old was central to everything that was good about PSG's play and impressed during the first half, being denied by Lyon stopped Anthony Lopes when released through on goal before the half hour mark.

Later on, Messi hit the crossbar with an excellent 30-yard free kick, before the hosts fell behind when Lucas Paqueta slotted home past helpless Gianluigi Donnarumma.

How many goals with Messi score at PSG this season? Let us know in the comments section.

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Neymar equalised from the penalty spot in the 66th after he was brought down by Malo Gusto.

Messi looked noticeably tired during the second half, but it was a surprise to everyone when he was substituted on 75 minutes, as Pochettino introduced Achraf Hakimi.

The Argentine, who is not used to being replaced, was visibly unimpressed with the decision, and appeared to snub his manager as the ex-Spurs boss went in for a handshake.

Messi cut a forlorn figure on the bench for the remainder of the game, which PSG won after Mauri Icardi headed home from close range right at the death.

After the game, Pochettino was asked about his decision to substitute Messi. He said: "I think everyone knows that we have many great players, with a 35-man squad.

"We have to make choices, within the matchday squad and then during the game, keeping in mind what’s best for the team and every player.

"Sometimes the decisions are positive, or not, but that’s what managers are there to do on the sidelines, to make decisions. It can please people or not. I asked him how he was and he said he was fine, no issues."

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