As Lionel Messi prepared to say farewell to Barcelona in a club press conference, French fans and media alike were salivating over the impact the superstar's mooted arrival at Paris Saint-Germain would have on the club and the French league.

Paris Saint-Germain fans wave flags during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and ES Troyes at the Stade de l'Aube in Troyes on August 7, 2021.
Paris Saint-Germain fans wave flags during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and ES Troyes at the Stade de l'Aube in Troyes on August 7, 2021. (AFP)

Paris Saint-Germain might be closing in on signing Lionel Messi but another Argentinian was their match-winner as Mauro Icardi's goal secured a 2-1 victory against newly-promoted Troyes in their opening game of the new Ligue 1 season.

Second-tier champions Troyes had gone in front inside eight minutes to the delight of their fans at the Stade de l'Aube on Saturday when Moroccan defender Oualid El Hajjam headed home at a corner.

READ MORE: PSG appear most likely destination for Messi as Man City close door on move

Possible arrival of Messi

However, PSG were back level in the 19th minute thanks to a thumping finish by their own Moroccan defender Achraf Hakimi, the right-back signed from Inter Milan for a reported $71 million last month.

Icardi then scored what proved to be the winner just two minutes later, controlling a Kylian Mbappe cutback and slotting home.

"At the beginning of the season it is always difficult and we didn't play as well as we wanted, but Troyes deserve a big prize because they played well," PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino told broadcaster Canal Plus.

Argentine striker Icardi is one of those who may have the most to lose with the possible arrival of Messi, who is now widely expected to move to Paris after the collapse of his new deal with cash-strapped Barcelona.

PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo both missed Saturday's trip to the game in Champagne country, apparently because they had other pressing business.

"There have been lots of rumours. Lots of things are being said," said Pochettino. "I just hope we will be strong enough to try to win every competition we are involved in."

With Neymar not involved having only just returned from an extended break following the Copa America in Brazil, PSG were nowhere near full strength and they were not given an easy ride by Troyes, a club that is part of the City Football Group network of clubs including Manchester City.

Mbappe did start alongside Icardi and Julian Draxler in the PSG attack, while summer signings Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum lined up at right-back and in midfield respectively.

READ MORE: Messi to leave Barcelona after contract talks collapse

Source: AFP