SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYNE, France (AFP) — Argentina’s World Cup winning captain Lionel Messi will not travel with Paris Saint-Germain for their French Cup tie with minnows Chateauroux on Friday.
The 35-year-old, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner only restarted training in France on Wednesday having celebrated his career crowning World Cup win three weeks ago.
PSG coach Christophe Galtier suggested the forward could play in their next league fixture on 11 January, at their Parc des Princes home to Angers.
“We want him to rest up and spend time settling with his family, he definitely won’t play tomorrow (Friday),” Galtier told a press conference Thursday.
“I’ve spoken to him and we hope to work it out so he’ll be available for the next game,” he said.
Galtier also called upon PSG fans to provide the Argentine a warm welcome, despite his key role in defeating France in the final of the World Cup.
“It’s Lionel Messi and we are lucky to have him. So, I hope our fans will celebrate his return.”
On Wednesday, Messi was given a guard of honor by his teammates at the club’s training ground.
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar will also miss Friday’s match, with the French striker on holiday and the Brazilian nursing a twisted ankle.
“We had planned to allow Neymar some time to fully recover from his World Cup injury and that is going to happen in this period,” Galtier said.
Neymar picked up the injury in Qatar in their opener against Serbia, but scored in their last-16 win over South Korea before a painful elimination by Croatia.
“I’m not worried about Neymar, he’s down about the World Cup but I can see he’s fully invested for us,” Galtier said.
Galtier said the trip to third-division Chateauroux would be a good chance to run out some of the squad players.