It was the moment European football had been waiting for – and the one Pep Guardiola knew was probably “unstoppable”. Lionel Messi glided forward from the halfway line late on against Manchester City at the Parc des Princes, played a one-two with Paris St-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe and left goalkeeper Ederson rooted to the spot with a shot beautifully placed into the top corner.
It was the first club goal of his entire career that had not been scored for Barcelona and sealed a 2-0 victory for the team who signed him primarily to lead them to Champions League glory. That strike ended a run of 264 minutes without a goal for Messi since his summer move from Spain. Manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrated with a sense of jubilation. Guardiola had seen Messi at close quarters enough to know it was as good as inevitable. Messi himself was left with a huge sense of relief.
“It’s true that I was getting desperate to score my first goal,” Messi told French broadcaster Canal Plus. “I hadn’t played much recently and I had only played once here at home but I am settling into the team little by little. “The more us forwards play together, the better our relationship will be. We all need to grow together and improve and keep giving our best.”