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PSG boss Christophe Galtier explains why Lionel Messi was substituted despite impressing in 1-1 Benfica draw

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Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) manager Christophe Galtier has explained why he decided to substitute Lionel Messi in the second half of their 1-1 UEFA Champions League (UCL) draw with Benfica.

The Argentine opened the scoring for the Parisians in the 22nd minute of the UCL encounter at Estadio da Luz. But their lead was canceled by a Danilo Pereira own goal four minutes before half-time.

The match eventually ended 1-1, with PSG holding on to the top spot in Group H of the competition. But there was a lot of talk about Galtier’s decision to take off Messi in the 81st minute, even attracting criticism from fans.


However, as it turned out, it was the former Barcelona player who asked to be substituted as he felt tired.

“He gestured saying he wanted to be substituted,” Galtier told RMC Sport. On the last play, he felt tired. He came off because he was tired and a fresh team-mate was a lot more interesting at that moment.”

Messi was at his creative best in the encounter, winning 100% of his take-ons and creating three goal-scoring chances for his teammates, on top of the goal.

Spanish midfielder Pablo Sarabia was brought on for the Argentina international.

Lionel Messi becomes first player to score against 40 different teams in the Champions League

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With his first-half strike against Benfica, Lionel Messi became the first-ever player in UCL history to score against 40 different sides.

The Argentine talisman took his tally to eight goals in the ongoing season in 13 appearances across competitions, and is well on course to overhaul his numbers from last season. He has also provided eight assists so far and looks in ominous form.

In his first season with PSG, he scored 11 goals, which was below par by his standards. But in all likelihood, he will overtake that in his second season in Paris.

He is next expected to be in action on Saturday, October 8, when the Ligue 1 leaders travel to face 17th-placed Reims. Their next UCL assignment is against Benfica at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, October 11.

It remains to be seen whether the Argentine will maintain his goal-scoring form in the upcoming matches ahead of the FIFA World Cup later this year.

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