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Lionel Messi's PSG debut breaks Spanish soccer viewing record

Paris Saint-Germain's Lionel Messi (L) did not attempt a shot in his debut for the French Ligue 1 team Sunday in Reims, France. Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE
Paris Saint-Germain's Lionel Messi (L) did not attempt a shot in his debut for the French Ligue 1 team Sunday in Reims, France. Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Ex-Barcelona star Lionel Messi 's debut for Paris Saint-Germain set a record in Spain for the most-watched French soccer game in the history of the country, Spanish broadcasting company Kosmos said Monday.

Telecinco's broadcast of Sunday's PSG-Reims game drew a total of 2,214,000 viewers on average, Kosmos said in a news release.

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More than 6.73 million people watched at least one minute of the game. Kosmos said more than two million Spanish viewers watched the broadcast on Twitch.

Messi entered as a substitute for striker Neymar Jr. in the 66th minute of the 2-0 victory in Reims, France. Fellow forward Kylian Mbappe scored both goals in the Ligue 1 win.

Spanish broadcasting consultant Barlovento Comunicacion reported 591,000 viewers watched Barcelona's 2-1 win over Getafe on Sunday in Barcelona.

Messi won three free kicks, but did not attempt a shot in Sunday's win. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner joined PSG on a free transfer from Barcelona on Aug. 10. He did not appear in PSG's two previous games since the signing.

"We are happy and Messi is happy too with the squad and with his teammates," PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino told reporters Sunday. "He wants to continue working, and I'm sure we'll get even better."

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PSG faces Clermont Foot in Ligue 1 on Sunday in Paris. Messi's new team battles Club Brugge in the group stage of the 2021-22 Champions League at 3 p.m. EDT Sept. 15 in Bruges, Belgium.

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