Messi to return to PSG in early January, says Galtier
PARIS - Lionel Messi has won the World Cup, but it is now back to work as he will return to Paris Saint-Germain at the beginning of January, the Ligue 1 club’s manager Christophe Galtier said on Tuesday.
The Argentinian forward, a seven-time Ballon D’Or winner, scored two goals to lead his country to victory over France on penalties in the World Cup final.
The 35-year-old missed PSG’s home league game against Strasbourg on Wednesday and will also not make the trip to Lens on Sunday. He is also likely to miss the French Cup match at Chateauroux, possibly making his return at home against Angers on Jan 11.
“Leo had a very big World Cup with his victory. He had to return to Argentina for the celebrations, the receptions and we decided that he was going to be off until the 1st of January,” Galtier told reporters.
“And so he will come and join us, either on the 2nd or the 3rd, to be able to resume competition with us, when he will have had between 13 and 14 days of recovery.”
Messi is also expected to sit down with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and other top club officials to pen a one-season extension to his current deal in the French capital which expires in the summer.
Galtier added that all other players returned as per the schedule, including France striker Kylian Mbappe and Brazilian forward Neymar.
He also played down suggestions of a rift between Messi and teammate Mbappe after the World Cup.
“There is no reason to mix everything up in the relationship between Kylian and Leo,” Galtier said.
“Kylian has a very good attitude having lost the World Cup.
“When you lose a World Cup final, you have a reason to be very, very disappointed. He was very disappointed, but he knew how to go on and behave, and had a lot of class to congratulate Leo and that’s very good for the club and for the team.”
PSG, meanwhile, issued a statement saying Presnel Kimpembe will continue his recovery from an Achilles tendon issue for four weeks, while Nuno Mendes could resume training in two weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during the World Cup.
PSG are top of the standings on 41 points after 15 games, five above second-placed Lens. - REUTERS, AFP