Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will be without Lionel Messi for the Ligue 1 clash against Lyon at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. The Argentine great was diagnosed with Covid-19 last week and although he has completed a full recovery, the game against Lyon comes too soon for him.
PSG will also be without the services of Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Danilo Pereira, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Layvin Kurzawa due to Covid-19, while Alexandre Letellier and Neymar Jr are injured.
Messi spent the winter break in Argentina and reportedly tested positive for Covid-19 at home. The 34-year-old immediately went into quarantine and made a swift recovery, as he returned to PSG earlier this week to step up preparations for the game against Lyon.
Messi was spotted doing individual work at PSG training, which was the first indication that he would not be involved this weekend. On Saturday, it was confirmed that the former Barcelona star will not be in the squad for PSG, with Kylian Mbappe set to start up front for the Ligue 1 giants alongside Mauro Icardi.
PSG have enough firepower to overcome Lyon despite Lionel Messi's absence
PSG are ten points clear of Marseille at the top of the Ligue 1 standings and look set to reclaim their domestic crown this time around. Messi has scored just once in the league this season but is still an important player for Mauricio Pochettino, who will be without a handful of other key players for the trip to Lyon.
Speaking ahead of the game, the PSG manager remained tight-lipped about Messi but admitted that games against Lyon are always difficult.
“The matches against Lyon are always difficult. They are a very good team, very good players and a very good coach. It's a classic, between two rivals, and two very good teams. Whether in Lyon or Paris, there are always high expectations around this meeting."
"These are always complicated matches, so we will have to be in the game. We are ready to fight. We are optimistic, we want to play a good game and we hope to win. Lyon has one of the best squads in France, and a great trainer. I am convinced that this team will be in the places of honor at the end of the season."
Messi is likely to resume team training in the coming days and is expected to be involved in PSG's Ligue 1 encounter against Brest at the Parc des Princes next week.