Lionel Messi provided a hat-trick of assists as Paris Saint-Germain won on Sunday – but the game was marred by a horror injury to Neymar that left viewers reeling.
Bottom side St-Etienne took a shock lead against the Champions League giants on Sunday when Denis Bouanga gave the hosts a 27th-minute lead in Ligue 1.
The match turned swiftly after St-Etienne defender Timothee Kolodziejczak was sent off in the 45th minute, giving PSG just enough time to equalize through Marquinhos before the break.
Messi set up second-half goals by Angel di Maria and Marquinhos as Paris sealed victory, although their celebrations were dampened by a gruesome late twist.
— Justin it for the Clout (@JUSTIN_AVFC_) November 28, 2021
📸 – Horrible, horrible injury for Neymar…. oh God… pic.twitter.com/UjjT0oCZuv
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) November 28, 2021
Racing for a ball with Yvann Macon, their $251 million forward grimaced as his left ankle caught in the turf at the Geoffroy Stadium, bending at an agonizing angle.
That left Neymar writhing in agony and clutching his face before he was forced off on a stretcher.
𝙁𝙤𝙧 𝙗𝙮 𝙝𝙞𝙢, 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙…🐐
— Newell's Old Boys – English (@Newells_en) November 28, 2021
Messi with the second assist 😍🔥 pic.twitter.com/IIyEExzQP3
— Messi Media (@LeoMessiMedia) November 28, 2021
“Ankle ligaments is an extremely painful injury, so I don’t know about him being fine,” speculated one supporter as others tried to offer reassurance, while some even suggested that the 29-year-old’s season could be over already.
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted that he is “very worried” about the injury.
Another angle of Lionel Messi's beautiful assist to Angel Di Maria 🤩 pic.twitter.com/M5Y0zOhcW8
— TotalMessi (@TotaILeoMessi) November 28, 2021
Lionel Messi with 3 assists for PSG. Warming up for his Ballon d'Or on Monday nicely.
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) November 28, 2021
“We’ll check it out tomorrow,” he said after watching his side recover from their 2-1 defeat at Manchester City in the Champions League on a day when Spain legend Sergio Ramos also made his long-awaited PSG debut.
“Right now, he’s feeling the pain from the twist in his ankle. He’s going to take exams tomorrow to find out more. But we hope it’s not too serious and that he’ll be with us soon.”
Lionel Messi is the first player to provide a hat-trick of assists in a single Ligue 1 game this season.
🅰️ Marquinhos (45+2')
🅰️ Di María (79')
🅰️ Marquinhos (90+1')
He assisted every PSG goal. ✨ pic.twitter.com/MBOViAcYND
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 28, 2021
Neymar looks likely to miss PSG’s top-of-the-table clash with Nice on Wednesday, although that may not be a considerable concern given that Les Parisiens are 14 points clear and will be at home.
That is the first of three fixtures in six days for Pochettino’s men, who travel to Lens on Saturday and host Belgian team Club Brugge in a Champions League group from which their qualification is guaranteed regardless of the result.
Brazil are not back in action until late January.