Lionel Messi PSG debut: Watch Reims v PSG exclusively live on BT Sport as six-time Ballon d'Or winner makes his Ligue 1 bow

As the exclusive UK home of Ligue 1 and the Champions League, BT Sport is the only place to watch Lionel Messi's debut for PSG and follow his fortunes in the French capital this season.

Published: 29 August 2021 - 12.44pm
Football Features

Lionel Messi

A glorious new era in French football could be set to dawn as Lionel Messi prepares to make his debut as a Paris-Saint Germain player.

In a move that sent shockwaves around the world of football, the 34-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Ligue 1 giants after ending his 21-year stay at Barcelona. 

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The six-time Ballon d'Or winner was presented to fans at the Parc des Princes before PSG's 4-2 victory over Strasbourg on 14 August along with fellow new arrivals Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and Achraf Hakimi.

Messi took no part in that game or Friday's triumph at Brest by the same scoreline and it is understood the Argentina captain is being given an extended pre-season as he bids to regain match fitness after a taxing summer campaign representing his country in the Copa America.

With the eyes of the footballing world trained on Ligue 1, the question on everyone's lips is 'when Messi will make first appearance for his new club?' 

When will Messi make his PSG debut?

Lionel Messi is expected to make his PSG debut in the club's Ligue 1 fixture away at Reims on Sunday 29 August, exclusively live at 7.45pm on BT Sport.

He is in the process of getting back up to speed in training following his arrival at PSG, having not had a full pre-season due to his participation in the Copa America and subsequent departure from Barcelona.

The 34-year-old is also settling into life off the pitch as he looks to find a suitable home with his family.

Although Reims' modest Stade Auguste-Delaune looks a good bet to witness Messi's first official appearance in Ligue 1, the Rosario-born playmaker is unlikely to play a full 90 minutes and could come on as a second-half substitute.

PSG's trip to Reims is followed by a two-week international break and Messi is expected to play all three games as Argentina's World Cup qualification campaign for Qatar 2022 continues.

Should boss Mauricio Pochettino decide against risking his star signing before the international break, Messi's full debut could come on Sunday 12 September at home to Clermont.

What has Pochettino said?

The former Tottenham manager has notoriously high standards of physical fitness and conditioning for his players - and Messi will be no exception.

There will be clamour for Messi to make his PSG debut sooner rather than later but Pochettino will be keen to resist rushing his new star player back into action.

"The week has been very good for Leo, so we hope that next week is a long week and we hope that, if everything goes well, he can be in the group and start to be part of the team in a competitive way," said Pochettino.

"Everyone has seen it, Leo has had an amazing reception. He is a special boy and we are a staff that listens to the players and we are going to talk to him to find out what he needs and when he will be ready."

“We already know what Leo is, what he represents. Everything is positive. There is a very good atmosphere in the group and he has adapted very well and very quickly. I’m happy with the way everyone is working,” he added.

What shirt number will Messi wear?

According to reports, Neymar offered to give up his number 10 shirt but Messi declined his friend's offer.

Instead Messi has opted for 30, the same shirt number he wore on his Barcelona debut back in 2003.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner wore 30 at Barcelona until 2006, when he switched to 19, before taking the 10 when Ronaldinho left in 2008.

The number 30 in Ligue 1 is traditionally taken by the third choice goalkeeper, with Alexandre Letellier having that shirt before the arrival of Messi, but he has given it up for his new teammate.

What are PSG's next five games?

Every single PSG game from Ligue 1 and the Champions League will be shown live on BT Sport via BT TV, BTSport.com or the BT Sport app.

Reims v PSG

Date

Sunday 29 August

Time

7.45pm

PSG v Clermont

Date

Sunday 12 September

Time

TBD

Champions League MD1

Date

Tuesday/Wednesday 14/15 September

Time

TBD

PSG v Lyon

Date

Sunday 19 September

Time

TBD

Metz v PSG

Date

Wednesday 22 September

Time

TBD

Fixture

Date

Time

Reims v PSG

Sunday 29 August

7.45pm

PSG v Clermont

Sunday 12 September

TBD

Champions League MD1

Tuesday/Wednesday 14/15 September

TBD

PSG v Lyon

Sunday 19 September

TBD

Metz v PSG

Wednesday 22 September

TBD

Click here for PSG's full fixture list for Ligue 1 2021/22

How long will Messi be on BT Sport?

We've got great news for all Messi fans out there.

BT Sport will remain the home of French football and the Champions League for the next three years, meaning you won't miss a minute of Messi in action as he begins his two-year contract with PSG.

It promises to be an intriguing 2021/22 campaign across the Channel as the Parisians bid to reclaim the title Lille wrested from them so impressively in May.

Christophe Galtier, who has since left for Nice, guided surprise packages Lille to their first title in ten seasons to end a run of three straight Ligue 1 successes for PSG.

France was the location of the best title race in Europe in 2021/22, with just five points separating the top three of Lille, PSG and AS Monaco at its conclusion.

Will Messi's arrival tilt the balance firmly back in PSG's favour?

Make sure you join the journey from the outset as we find out exclusively live on BT Sport.