Lionel Messi (10/1 at Betfred to be Champions League top goalscorer) has arrived.

The Argentine’s stunning goal on Tuesday night, to thwart former boss Pep Guardiola and put Manchester City to the sword, was the moment the football world had been waiting for since his much-publicised move to Paris.

But does he actually make PSG (4/1 to win Champions League) a better team? Or was it just that, a moment?

There’s no doubt that Messi still possesses that much-eulogised magic in his feet, but when crunch time comes, in those tight semi-finals and finals, does he actually make Mauricio Pochettino’s team better?

It would seem on the surface a ludicrous question to ask given we are speaking about, by most accounts, one of the greatest players to ever walk the earth.

PSG beat City (4/1 to win Champions League) 2-0, but scratch a little beyond the surface and you’ll find that scoreline flattered the Parisians, and put on display worrying deficiencies in the balance of the team.

A front three of Kylian Mbappe (20/1 to be Champions League top goalscorer), Neymar (50/1) and Messi might be a dream come true on the latest incarnation of FIFA or Football Manager, but reality is rarely as smooth.

Neymar dipped into his box of tricks with little success on Tuesday, Mbappe made his runs inside but was rarely found, and bar that obvious moment of greatness aside from Messi, his cuts inside from the right proved somewhat ineffective.

It would be harsh to say the star-studded trio offered literally nothing defensively, but the moments they did were the exception rather than the rule.

In fact, when PSG’s build-up broke down, Messi could often be seen coming to a complete stop. Having come inside to join the play, no effort was made to even trot back over to the right flank to achieve some semblance of shape.

The vast majority of City’s best attacks came down their left, Messi’s turf. Had the likes of Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling been more clinical, it could have been a very different night.

There were acres of space left for Joao Cancelo to operate in, Kevin De Bruyne was allowed the freedom of the pitch and Achraf Hakimi was left to deal with Jack Grealish alone.

This isn’t to say PSG won’t reach the latter stages of the Champions League, it would be hard not to with the talent they possess – especially behind the front three, where the magnificent Marco Verratti reminded us all why he’s one of the best in Europe.

But it raises huge questions as to their ability to finally end their Qatari owners’ never-ending quest for European glory.

The Champions League is rarely won with the luxury of passengers – even Barcelona’s famous ‘MSN’ had Luis Suarez doing the work of two or three men – and PSG may very well have an entire front-line of them.

Whenever you bet, Betfred

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