Lionel Messi starts first PSG game since World Cup

Jamie Spencer
Lionel Messi hasn't played for PSG since November
Lionel Messi hasn't played for PSG since November / Catherine Steenkeste/GettyImages

Lionel Messi has returned to the Paris Saint-Germain lineup for the Ligue 1 clash against Angers on Wednesday night. Kylian Mbappe, meanwhile, is taking a break away from the team.

Messi has not played since captaining Argentina to World Cup glory on 18 December and was granted time off at home in South America. But the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, perhaps soon to be eight in 2023, returned to PSG training a week ago.

He was given a guard of honour by his PSG teammates as he walked back onto the club’s training pitch for the first time since November, even presented with a personal trophy from sporting director Luis Henrique to commemorate his achievements.

Mbappe, who also played in the World Cup final – scoring a hat-trick for France, returned to action for PSG as soon as 10 days after the tournament for the Ligue 1 win over Strasbourg. Yet the 23-year-old has since been granted some personal leave of his own.

There have been rumours of a rift between Mbappe and Messi, speculation of which will no doubt be fuelled by the return of one coinciding with the break of the other. But coach Christophe Galtier has previously denied there any issues to be resolved.

“There is no reason to mix everything up in the relationship between Kylian and Leo,” he said at the end of last month.

PSG lineup vs Angers – Ligue 1

(4-3-1-2) Donnarumma; Mukiele, Ramos, Marquinhos, Bernat; Fabian, Danilo, Vitinha; Messi; Ekitike, Neymar