Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi is facing a race to prove his fitness in time to feature in Tuesday night’s blockbuster Champions League clash with Manchester City
Lionel Messi is set to be included in Paris Saint-Germain’s squad to face Manchester City in Tuesday’s mouth-watering Champions League fixture, manager Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed.
But it remains to be seen whether the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will be fit enough to start against City at the Parc des Princes.
Messi, 34, missed PSG’s last two Ligue 1 fixtures with a knock which left him facing a race to feature against his former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
Pochettino’s latest comments suggest Messi is winning his battle to be fit in time for the Group A clash, but he refused to confirm whether he would start.
“We will wait until tomorrow to confirm who will participate,” said Pochettino on Monday. “Can I confirm Messi will be there on Tuesday? I never confirm the team the day before. It’s something we will see tomorrow.
“Leo is a bit like Marco Verratti. He’s progressing very well. I think he will be in the squad, but I still have not decided the starting XI.”
Messi has made three appearances for PSG, two of which have been starts, and is yet to pick up his first goal or assist for the club.
He arrived in the French capital this summer after he was unable to sign a new contract with Barcelona due to the financial turmoil at Camp Nou.
Pochettino is not surprised it is taking his fellow Argentine plenty of time to settle in to his new surroundings given how long he spent in Catalonia.
“He did 20 years in Barcelona, it’s normal he felt at home there and here, everything is new for him,” said Pochettino of Messi. “He did not arrive a long time ago.”
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PSG lost 4-1 on aggregate to City in last season’s Champions League semi-finals to prolong their wait to be crowned European champions for the first time.
City are also waiting to taste Champions League glory after they fell short against Chelsea in the final, but Pochettino has no doubt the Sky Blues are “ahead” of his side.
“It’s a fact, not an opinion, that we are a team in construction,” added Pochettino. “City have been under the best coach in the world in my opinion with Pep Guardiola.
“It’s a matter of time but also, let’s face it, of investment.”
He masterminded an incredible Champions League victory over the Etihad club in the 2018/19 season as Spurs progressed to the semi-finals on away goals with the aggregate score 4-4.
Spurs would go on to reach the final that year after another enthralling fixture with Ajax, but they fell short against Liverpool in Madrid.