Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi returns to PSG squad for first appearance of 2022

Jamie Spencer
Covid-19 means Lionel Messi hasn't played since before Christmas
Covid-19 means Lionel Messi hasn't played since before Christmas / ATPImages/GettyImages

Lionel Messi is in line to make his PSG return on Sunday after head coach Mauricio Pochettino confirmed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will be in the squad.

The Argentina international hasn’t played for PSG since before Christmas after testing positive for Covid-19 while he was back home in Argentina during the recent winter break.

Messi was only able to return to Europe once he was testing negative and no longer an infection risk, but it meant he had to miss PSG wins over Lyon and Brest in Ligue 1 earlier this month.

However, now back with the rest of the squad and having been able to train this week, Messi is in line to at least take a place on the bench for the visit of Reims on Sunday night.

“He trained well during the week with the squad and I'm happy he's back with us. He'll be in the squad,” Pochettino explained as he faced the media ahead of the game.

Messi is yet to find his best form for PSG. A lack of fitness at the start of the season followed by niggling injury troubles have limited his ability to perform and the man with 672 senior club goals to his name before this season has only scored once in 11 league games in France.

In a bid to let him build up his fitness, Messi has been omitted from Argentina’s squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Colombia next week.

La Albiceleste have already secured their place in Qatar next winter but have still named a strong squad including Messi’s PSG teammates Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes, as well as Inter’s Lautaro Martinez, Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and Atletico Madrid’s Rodrigo de Paul.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!