Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed that Lionel Messi has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Monday’s Coupe de France round of 32 clash with Vannes OC with the Ligue 1 trip to Olympique Lyonnais also now in major doubt.
The French giants updated their medical bulletin on Sunday ahead of head coach Mauricio Pochettino’s pre-match press conference and the Argentina international is one of four players to have returned a positive test along with Juan Bernat, Sergio Rico, and Nathan Bitumazala.
“The four players that tested positive for Covid-19 are Leo Messi, Juan Bernat, Sergio Rico and Nathan Bitumazala,” read the bulletin. “They are currently in isolation and are subject to the appropriate health protocol.”
Bernat was with the squad on Saturday for the resumption of training so the possibility that this is not the final positive case is strong as Pochettino hinted during his press conference while also confirming that Messi will remain in the pair’s homeland until he tests negative.
“We have been living with this virus for two years now,” he said. “There are things out of our control. We can get it even when we take all the necessary precautions. Messi is in touch with our medical staff. I do not know if he will be ready for Lyon. He will not be able to travel until he tests negative.”
“This is the risk,” added Pochettino on Bernat. “Football is a contact sport. We are trying to take all the necessary measures. We have been dealing with this for nearly two years. I am not a doctor, but I do as the medical services tell me. We take every precaution to play on.”
On top of Messi, Bernat and Rico’s situations, Neymar will remain in Brazil until at least Jan. 9 with PSG medical and performance staff on-site and the 29-year-old is at least three weeks away from a return to training.
“Neymar Jr. will continue his treatment in Brazil until 9 January with members of the Paris Saint-Germain medical and performance staff,” added the club. “His return to training is still expected to be in about 3 weeks.”
PSG are away at Vannes in the Coupe de France round of 32 on Monday before travelling to Lyon to resume Ligue 1 action on the Sunday with Kylian Mbappe so keen to get back to work that he reported for training a day early as he enters the final six months of his PSG contract.
“Contract situations can affect your if you do not have the maturity to handle it,” said Pochettino of the Frenchman’s future. “Kylian has that necessary maturity. The club knows the situation. We do not think that this is a problem. We hope that he will stay for several more years and that his current performance level will continue.”
While Mbappe is free to negotiate terms with potential new clubs now, PSG remain hopeful that they can convince him to extend his stay at Parc des Princes.