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Lionel Messi's home debut will arguably be remembered for all the wrong reasons after he failed to make the desired impact in PSG's 2-1 win against Ligue 1 rivals Lyon.
The 34-year-old did strike the post with a curling free-kick, but that was arguably his only real highlight of note, which culminated in the diminutive forward being taken off with 15 minutes to go.
It was a decision, made by PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino, that baffled many, as the home side were chasing a winning goal at the time of the substitution.
Messi appeared to be visibly upset at the decision, with the player and his manager not shaking hands when the change was made.
However, footage has now surfaced which could partially explain why Messi was unceremoniously hooked off in the 76th minute.
For Doubters!!!!! Here is to show you the reason why Pochettino subbed off Messi. The player clearly felt something in his knee and the coach didn't want to risk it. #PSG :red_circle::large_blue_circle: pic.twitter.com/kC7frrLh31
- PSG Chief (@psg_chief) September 20, 2021
While the glory of the evening belonged to substitute Mauro Icardi, who scored a stoppage-time winner, it was the drama surrounding Messi's that inevitably dominated the news cycle.
Given what was at stake, and with the eyes of the world watching, it was a curious decision from the former Spurs boss.
Now though, we have a possible explanation as to why Pochettino made such a bold call in the closing stages of the match.
As the video above demonstrates, Messi was testing out his right knee, with the forward appearing to be in some discomfort on the pitch.
With this in mind, it's more than plausible that Pochettino was simply trying to protect his fellow countryman, by taking Messi off the pitch before he caused any further injury.
After Sunday night's match at the Parc des Princes, Pochettino corroborated this theory, telling the media that the substitution was a mere precautionary measure.
"We made the decision to take Messi off because of a possible future injury," the PSG manager claimed.
"We have important matches coming up and we have to protect him.
"These are decisions made for the team and everyone knows we have many great players. We have to make these decisions."
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