Nicolas Anelka has criticised Lionel Messi for his slow start to life in Ligue 1 and believes the Argentine should be put under similar scrutiny like new teammate Neymar. The Argentina international joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer from Barcelona, but is yet to showcase his lethal side in front of goal after making just seven appearances in all competitions.

Messi has scored three goals in as many games in the Champions League, but has failed to open his account in France's top domestic league in his four appearances thus far. Anelka feels that the former Barcelona talisman's performances have not been extraordinary, especially for a player that has won six Ballon d'Or trophies.

"Today we demand from Neymar, but we can do the same with Messi. Since the beginning of the season it is not extraordinary either. There is a player who has six Ballon d'Ors [sic] and finally is not so extraordinary," Anelka said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

Messi has played the full 90 minutes just twice in Ligue 1, and is yet to get up to speed in his new surroundings. Neymar, meanwhile, has also struggled to consistently shine in front of goal this campaign having scored just one goal in his last six league appearances.

The former Real Madrid forward, however, has backed the Brazilian to recapture his form in the coming months under manager Mauricio Pochettino. He is certain the Argentine coach will continue to play Neymar despite his poor form, with a view on getting him back to his best sooner rather than later.

"He is going through a difficult moment. If the coach thinks he has to play to regain his level, he makes him play. Putting it aside or replacing it to break their morale is not going to fix things," Anelka added. "In addition, he has a great salary, he is a star of French and world football. He is one of the best players in the league, although right now he is fighting to show it."

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has now scored three Champions League goals since arriving at Paris Saint-Germain FRANCK FIFE/AFP