- Coupe de France clash on Friday
- Brazilian forward being rested
- Argentine icon only just back in training
WHAT HAPPENED? The superstar forwards will not be risked in domestic cup competition against third tier opposition, with both men easing their way back into club action at PSG following 2022 World Cup duty. Neymar has taken in one outing since returning from Qatar, and picked up a red card in said contest, while Messi has only recently been welcomed back into training by Ligue 1 heavyweights after captaining Argentina to global glory in Qatar.
WHAT THEY SAID: PSG boss Christophe Galtier said of Messi when asked about his potential involvement in a cup clash with Chateauroux: “Leo trained yesterday and today. He won't play tomorrow. We're making sure he's ready for the next game. We'll take stock. I'll be very attentive to what he's going to do, but we want him to be available for the next match.”
Galtier added on his Brazil international forward: “Neymar's absence was planned, like all the players present at the World Cup. We had decided that Ney was going to treat his sprained ankle during this period.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi was given a guard of honour by PSG players and staff upon returning to Parc des Princes, but Galtier says no decision has been taken on whether an official toasting of his World Cup win – which saw France defeated in an epic final – will be staged in a full stadium. He added: “It was important that he be celebrated at home by all the players at the training centre. He was moved to have this celebration. A celebration in his next game at the Parc? We'll see when it's his next game, but there is no demand and need for Leo to be celebrated. I dare to hope that he will be celebrated by our supporters, there's no reason for them not to.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty
WHAT NEXT? PSG will be back in Ligue 1 action, potentially with Messi in their starting XI, when playing host to Angers on January 11 – with Galtier’s side looking to offer a positive response in that fixture to a 3-1 defeat to Lens, which was their first reversal of the season in the French top-flight.