Depay Wanted a Team For Himself, But He's No Messi - Lyon Sporting Director Slams Outgoing Dutch Star

The Brazilian claimed that Memphis believed his talents were enough for him to get by without pulling his weight as a team player.

Lyon sporting director Juninho had strong words for Memphis Depay, accusing the outgoing striker of wanting the entire team to revolve around him as if he were Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Kylian Mbappe.

The former Manchester United man was top scorer for Lyon in 2020-21, netting 21 times in Ligue 1 to finish behind only Mbappe as the division's most prolific player. 

But he will not be staying past this summer, with Barcelona widely tipped to snap up the Netherlands international on a free transfer. 

What was said? 

“Memphis Depay just wanted a team for himself,” the Brazilian explained to  OLTV .

“It’s not a criticism, I had a good relationship with him. But on the other hand, the whole team had to revolve around him and that is very hard. Everyone should feel like they’re working the same.

“There are only four players in the world where you have to do everything for them: Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Mbappe. If you have one of them, then the team can revolve around them.

“Sorry, I think that Depay is strong, but he’s not at their level. And I think that he has to work harder without the ball.”

The bigger picture 

Depay landed in Lyon in January 2017 after failing to impress during one and a half seasons at United. 

He soon rediscovered his best form at the club, leading them to top-four finishes in three of his four full campaigns - in 2019-20 he missed a good part of the term with a cruciate ligament injury, and Lyon finished seventh when the French league determined the season be cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In total Memphis played 176 times for Lyon in all competitions, scoring 75 goals. 

But the Dutchman declined to extend the four-and-a-half-year deal he signed back in 2017 and is now a free agent. 

A reunion with former Oranje coach Ronald Koeman now appears the most likely scenario for Depay, although recent reports suggest that he could change his mind should the trainer be sacked from his post over the post-season period.