It came as a massive surprise to fans and to Lionel Messi himself when Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino decided to substitute him in the 75th minute of the club's Ligue 1 match against Lyon on Sunday.

The score was tied at 1-1 at the time, and it seemed counter intuitive to take off a forward such as Messi when the club needed to score. Nevertheless, PSG managed to find the win thanks to a last minute goal by Mauro Icardi. They managed to take home all three points from the 2-1 victory, but there will be a lot of discussions behind the scenes.

The Parc des Princes was stunned when Messi's number lit up the board, and the player was seen with a puzzled look on his face as he approached the manager briefly on his way back to the bench. The conversation between the two remains between them, but Pochettino addressed the issue when he faced members of the media in the post-race press conference.

"We made the decision to take Messi off because of a possible future injury," he explained, while also pointing out that he is planning for the coming weeks. "We have important matches coming up and we have to protect him," he said, as quoted by Marca.

Pochettino also reminded critics that PSG currently has a star-studded roster. He is spoilt for choice in his lineup, and he can make decisions to help the club keep more players healthy for the duration of the campaign. "These are decisions made for the team and everyone knows we have many great players. We have to take these decisions," he said.

The manager also said that his decisions will rub some people the wrong way whether he likes it or not, but it is his job to make the tough choices for the benefit of the club. "Sometimes they might be viewed favourably, sometimes a little less," he said.

Nevertheless, PSG fans are happy to be seeing Messi playing on a more regular basis. Their other blockbuster signing of the summer, Sergio Ramos, has yet to make his debut for the club.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi didn't appear too happy with coach Mauricio Pochettino as he came off in the second half against Lyon AFP / FRANCK FIFE