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Lionel Messi Easier To Defend Against Now, Says Rami

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Lionel Messi Easier To Defend Against Now, Says Rami

Lionel Messi's move to Paris Saint Germain means it is the turn of Ligue 1 defenders to be terrorised by the Argentine, but Adil Rami believes the task of stopping the Barcelona legend is not as tough compared to previous years.

Adil Rami now plies his trade for Troyes and regularly came face-to-face against Messi during his time with Sevilla, but was never on the winning side in 12 meetings against the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, as reported by Marca.

But Rami believes that the style of Messi's game has changed, making it easier to defend against the 34-year-old.

"Granted, I never won, but there were draws and [chuckling] I got four or five shirts from him," Rami told Ligue 1's website.

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"He was too strong, back then he was always behind my back. He'd be offside and then he would move back to touch the halfway line and then go again.

"Now he's more of a passer, so it's easier for defenders as we can wait.

"I don't think he's able to do his slalom moves so much."

Messi is yet to set French football alight this season after failing to score in his first three Ligue 1 appearances for PSG, but did find the net with a wonderful strike in 2-0 victory against Manchester City in the Champions League.

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He has been deployed on the right side of a three-man attack alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, and as a second striker when Ángel Di María was brought into the team.

Rami still believes that Messi will be a big threat though and tipped him to form a fearsome attacking partnership with Mbappe this season.

"I am a big fan of Kylian Mbappe and I am happy he stayed at PSG because Messi is going to give him so much," Rami said.

"Honestly, if Mbappe understands his role then the team will hurt others a lot."

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PSG's 100 per cent record at the start of the season was ended with a surprise 2-0 defeat away at Stade Rennais on Sunday, but Mauricio Pochettino's men still sit six points clear of Lens at the top of the table.

They return to action after the international break when they host Angers at the Parc des Princes on 15th October.

Topics: Angel Di Maria, Ligue 1, Lionel Messi, Mauricio Pochettino, Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint Germain

James Hilsum
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