Defending champions Paris Saint Germain couldn’t have asked for a better start to their 2022/23 Ligue 1 campaign. Star forwards Neymar and Lionel Messi put in blistering performances to blow away the opposition.
The Argentine’s sensational bicycle kick to round off a perfect performance attracted all the headlines. Messi, who was slow to get off the mark and had an underwhelming Ligue 1 campaign following his move from Barcelona last summer, has already clarified his intentions at the beginning of the season.
The bicycle kick was the second of two goals scored by Messi on the night as Neymar, Achraf Hakimi, and Marquinhos also got on the scoresheet to help PSG register an emphatic 5-0 victory over Clermont at the Stade Gabriel Montpied.
New PSG manager Christophe Galtier saw his side scoring the first goal of the season inside just nine minutes after Messi brilliantly flicked the ball with the outside of his foot and Neymar slotted it home with a perfect finish.
Hakimi doubled the Parisians’ lead halfway through the first half with a quick counter-attack while Marquinhos also headed home Neymar’s free-kick to stretch their domination. Neymar then assisted the fourth goal after squaring a simple pass to Messi, who tucked it home from close range to open his Ligue 1 scoring account this season.
The final goal of the match was the most breath-taking affair as Leandro Paredes, who seems to be on the departure list for PSG this summer, provided the perfect weight and lob to the pass aimed at Messi.
Controlling the ball on his chest, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner took advantage of his momentum going backwards and put the ball into the net with an overhead kick to make it 5-0 on the night for the defending champions.
Kylian Mbappe was absent as he continues to recover from a minor knock. Vitinha, Hugo Ekitike and Nordi Mukiele were also handed their league debuts from Galtier.
Meanwhile, AS Monaco overcame a late burst from Strasbourg to begin their season with a 2-1 result. Krepin Diatta and Sofiane Diop scored on either side of the half-time break to give the Monegasques a two-goal lead at the Stade de la Meinau.
Habib Diallo pulled one back for the hosts, but Monaco did enough to protect their lead and begin their league campaign with a victory.