Lionel Messi will be absent when Paris Saint-Germain face Monaco on Saturday, but coach Christophe Galtier says he will return for next week’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.
Messi joined Neymar in a two-pronged PSG attack for Wednesday’s surprise Coupe de France defeat to rivals Marseille, with Kylian Mbappe missing as a result of a hamstring issue.
After PSG announced that injury could rule Mbappe out of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern, reports suggested Messi was also doubtful after sustaining a similar problem.
However, Galtier eased fears Messi could miss Tuesday’s meeting with the Bundesliga giants on Friday, although the World Cup winner is set to sit out PSG’s Ligue 1 trip to Monaco.
“Leo has felt muscle fatigue, he will resume training on Monday. He is not uncertain for Bayern,” Galtier said at his pre-match press conference.
“We know the importance of Leo to our game. With his absence, we will have to play in a different way to have a more solid, more compact team structure, to use each other.
“Obviously, going to Monaco without Leo is always annoying.”
Messi’s tally of 29 goal contributions this season (15 goals, 14 assists) is only bettered by three players from Europe’s top five leagues, with Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (34) leading PSG team-mates Neymar (32) and Mbappe (31).
PSG’s reporting of Mbappe’s injury has been met with scepticism in Munich, with Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann saying the French club are “playing poker” regarding his availability.
Asked whether he would be prepared to risk Mbappe on Tuesday, Galtier said: “The player’s health comes first. I will be very vigilant about the player’s health, especially as the season is long.
“Regarding Kylian, the communication has been made. We spoke of a three-week period of unavailability. Kylian is undergoing treatment.”
PSG have endured an underwhelming start to 2023, failing to keep a clean sheet in their past four Ligue 1 games and losing two away matches in the league since the turn of the year, only one fewer than they did in the entirety of 2022.
Galtier’s men are the only Ligue 1 side yet to win 1,000 duels in the competition this season (998), and he believes they need to be more aggressive to turn their form around.
“The players were very affected in the locker room after the [Marseille] match and yesterday,” he said. “You have to avoid long speeches but also show them what did not work.
“When there is so much disappointment, it is useless to get angry. You have to keep a very cool head.
“We are going to have a series against intense teams who impose duels. We will have to respond.
“At the moment, we are not finding this aggressiveness. The players have to make a big effort on the mental aspects to win a lot more duels in the middle.”