The injury that forced Lionel Messi off at halftime of Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 match against LOSC Lille will also keep him out of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League group match at RB Leipzig.
PSG released its squad list for the fourth group-stage match in Germany and Messi’s name was not among the 21 players on the traveling list. According to the injury report issued by the club, “Leo Messi has discomfort in his left hamstring and pain in his knee following a contusion.”
With the return of Kylian Mbappe to the matchday squad after an ear infection kept him out of the Lille match, PSG should be able to manage without its superstar summer signing.
Messi’s Argentine compatriot, Angel Di Maria, could take Messi’s spot in an attacking front three with Neymar and Mbappe. Mauro Icardi could also feature at center forward with Mbappe, Neymar and either Di Maria or Julian Draxler playing behind him.
Lionel Messi’s injury
With PSG down 1-0 at home to Lille on Friday, Oct. 29, Messi’s substitution was not exactly the switch that supporters were expecting to see at halftime as fellow Argentine Icardi took his place.
The 34-year-old Messi had a poor first half playing in the role of “false nine” at the center of the forward line. He struggled with his back to goal, he gave the ball away and he was often swarmed by defenders as Lille clogged the middle of the field. But the substitution had nothing to do with his performance and everything to do with an injury.
L’Equipe reported during the match that Messi had a muscle issue, and PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino later explained that the move was precautionary and made in consultation with team doctors at halftime. Pochettino did not disclose the nature of the injury postgame, but a video clip from the match showed Messi grabbing his left hamstring:
Pochettino gave more than a hint about Messi’s status for the Champions League match at RB Leipzig. When asked whether Messi would play a role, Pochettino said he was hopeful. But he didn’t exactly sound convincing in his English-language response during a postgame interview with Canal+ in which he repeated “hope” three times, and once more in French to avoid any confusion:
A translated version of his response about Messi’s status in a separate interview with Prime Video Sports France read: “We have to wait. We were with the doctors at halftime and it was a precaution. He could not continue. We hope that it’s not a big problem.”
Mauricio Pochettino sur @PVSportFR : “Comment va Leo Messi 🇦🇷 ? Nous devons attendre. Nous étions avec les médecins à la mi-temps, c’est de la précaution, il ne pouvait pas continuer. On espère que ce n’est pas un gros problème.”
— Hadrien Grenier (@hadrien_grenier) October 29, 2021
Messi was already a doubt entering the Lille match after he missed the previous day’s practice with muscle discomfort. But he was still inserted into the starting lineup against Lille, occupying a spot that would have gone to Mbappe had he not been ruled out with an ear infection. Mbappe was in a suite at the Parc des Prince to witness the match, which PSG came from behind to win 2-1.
Messi’s season with PSG so far
It was not the first time that Messi had to depart a Ligue 1 match due to injury.
He was controversially substituted in the latter stage of a match against Olympique Lyon, making it obvious he didn’t appreciate being taken off the field by Pochettino. But days later, an MRI revealed a bone bruise to his left knee that forced him to miss the club’s following league match.
Messi has missed six of 11 Ligue 1 matches for various reasons since signing with the club on Aug. 10. The match against Lille was Messi’s fifth Ligue 1 appearance and he has yet to score a goal in league play. It’s definitely not going unnoticed:
15 – Lionel Messi is the player with the most shots this season in Ligue 1 without scoring (15 shots, 4 on target). The Paris striker had not gone five league games in a row without finding the net in the Top 5 european leagues since October 2020 (also 5). Tricky. #PSGLOSC pic.twitter.com/xwCETKyhmj
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) October 29, 2021
But when it comes to the UEFA Champions League, Messi had not missed a single minute of play prior to the recent injury, scoring three goals and helping PSG to the top of Group A with a 2-0-1 record that has the club in front of reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City. Coupled with the absences of injured starting midfielders Leandro Paredes and Marco Verratti, it remains to be seen how PSG does without Messi on the biggest stage.
Original source here
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