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L. Messi

Pochettino pressed on Messi debut & Mbappe future ahead of PSG's meeting with Brest

14:44 BST 19/08/2021
Lionel Messi PSG 2021-22
The iconic Argentine forward is in line to make his first appearance for his new club, potentially alongside a World Cup winner

Mauricio Pochettino is giving little away when it comes to his plans for Lionel Messi, with the Argentine in line to make his Paris Saint-Germain against Brest, but the coach is confident that Kylian Mbappe will remain part of his plans this season.

The Ligue 1 heavyweights now boast an enviable array of attacking talent on their books, with six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi being slotted into a star-studded squad alongside the likes of Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi.

It could be that Messi, who was snapped up as a free agent once no contract was signed at Barcelona, opens a new chapter in his career on Friday, with another positive week of training put in following his arrival in France.

What has been said?

Quizzed on whether Messi is part of his plans for a meeting with Brest, Pochettino told reporters: "We have not yet communicated plans to the group, we will analyse and decide after the conference. 

"We all know his qualities, he brings a very positive energy. The connection was made quickly. You can tell there's a good feeling, and not only in the dressing room but also on the pitch."

Will Mbappe be sticking around?

PSG, without Messi and Neymar, looked to Mbappe for inspiration in their last outing against Strasbourg, as he caught the eye in a 4-2 win.

Speculation regarding the 22-year-old's future has continued to rage since then, as he plays out the final year of his contract, but Pochettino is adamant that a prized asset is going nowhere.

He added on the Real Madrid-linked superstar: "Kylian, I see him being very well. He's working really hard to be ready this season. And I see him staying with us this season. 

"We also know that during these periods, a lot of things are said. Some things happen, others don't. I see Kylian working well, he's got his head in tomorrow's game. He is focused."

Are PSG still looking to add?

PSG have invested heavily in lucrative contracts this summer for Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and Sergio Ramos, but have only paid out a transfer fee for Achraf Hakimi.

There could still be more business to come at Parc des Princes, amid links to the likes of Paul Pogba and Eduardo Camavinga, with Pochettino conceding that the arrivals lounge remains open.

The Argentine added: "We know that in football there can be surprises. We remain attentive. 

"If I had a wish, I wouldn't say it publicly, but I would go and see Leonardo first. If I gave this information, it would cause problems."

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