Football fans are used to the sight of team-mates being left awestruck by Lionel Messi goals, but the boot was on the other foot as Messi watched his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Sergio Ramos find the net against Marseille.
Messi and Ramos were enemies on the pitch for more than a decade, when the Argentina forward was banging in the goals for Barcelona and the Spain centre-back was trying to stop him for Real Madrid. They both moved to Paris in 2021, though, and have already won their first trophies together.
PSG were up against Marseille in the Coupe de France on Wednesday, eventually falling to a 2-1 defeat. When Ramos brought them level, though, Messi couldn’t hide his reaction.
Les Parisiens trailed 1-0 when Ramos came forward for a Neymar corner, with Alexis Sanchez’ penalty putting Marseille in front. When the Spain international planted a header into the bottom corner of Pau Lopez’s net, though, Messi simply stared open-mouthed.
Sadly it wasn’t enough to keep Christophe Galtier’s team in the competition. Ruslan Malinovskyi put the hosts in front with his first goal since joining on loan from Atalanta, and PSG couldn’t find another equaliser despite Ramos coming close when he met a Messi ball over the top in stoppage-time.
The win sends Marseille into the quarter-finals, and PSG’s elimination leaves the competition wide open. Just five of the final eight teams are from Ligue 1, along with second-tier sides Rodez, Annecy and Grenoble.
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Messi remains the top scorer in El Clasico, scoring 26 times against Real Madrid in all competitions. Many of those goals came with Ramos on the other side, and the former Madrid captain has spoken of his relief at the two players’ status as rivals changing.
“There was suffering for several years playing against Messi,” Ramos told PSG TV. “I am now enjoying him. He is the best player football has ever produced.”
After joining PSG from Real Madrid on a free transfer, Ramos had an injury-hit first season at the Parc des Princes in which he played just 13 times in all competitions and was unable to feature in any of the club’s Champions League games. He has already played more minutes this term, though, and didn’t miss a minute as PSG went unbeaten in Europe to set up a last-16 tie with Bayern Munich.
“We made a few mistakes that cost us dearly,” PSG defender Marquinhos said of the Coupe de France elimination. “We shouldn’t add to it, we know what we need to improve.
“It’s a defeat that hurts because it’s a Cup match against our great rival. We wanted to come back to Paris with victory and qualification. We have to do better, keep working and go forward.”