Lionel Messi will not be included in Paris St Germain’s squad for Friday’s Ligue 1 game at Brest, French daily L’Equipe reported, adding that his former Barcelona team mate Neymar has also been left out.
L’Equipe added that Italy’s Euro 2020 winning goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been called up alongside compatriot Marco Verratti, Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria.
Verratti was also part of Italy’s squad which beat England in the Euro 2020 final on penalties at Wembley, while Di Maria scored Argentina’s winner in a 1-0 victory over hosts Brazil in the Copa America showpiece.
Earlier on Thursday, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino had left open the possibility that Messi could feature against Brest when he declined to specify whether the six-times Ballon d’Or winner would finally make his debut.
The 34-year-old Messi is yet to feature for the French giants after joining them from Barcelona earlier this month and he was presented to the fans ahead of PSG’s 4-2 home win over Strasbourg on Saturday.
“Everything is positive“, Pochettino told a news conference at PSG’s training camp. “There is a good atmosphere in the squad and (Messi) has settled in well and quickly. There is a very good feeling“.
Messi had not trained for a month after helping Argentina to their Copa America triumph.
Having won 10 LaLiga and four Champions League titles during his 17-year career at Barcelona, Messi left them on a free transfer after the Catalan club’s president Joan Laporta said they could no longer afford to keep him.
Pochettino also suggested speculation that Kylian Mbappe might leave PSG in the current transfer window amounted to nothing, with the France World Cup winner a target for Real Madrid, according to media reports.
“Mbappe is our player and I want him to be here this season“, said Pochettino.
“He has another year left on his contract. Even if he doesn’t renew it, he is still a PSG player and we are very pleased with him and from what I can understand, he is pleased with us“.
“He is very calm and preparing well for tomorrow’s game“.
PSG can provisionally go three points clear at the top of the table if they beat Brest to make it three wins out of three at the start of their campaign to wrestle the league title back from last season’s champions Lille.
They are currently third on six points, behind leaders Angers and promoted Clermont Foot on goal difference.