Paris Saint-Germain

Mauricio Pochettino confirms Lionel Messi is available for Man City tie

Tom Gott
Lionel Messi is close to a return
Lionel Messi is close to a return / ANP Sport/Getty Images
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Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Lionel Messi is in the squad for Tuesday's Champions League tie with Manchester City.

Messi took a knock to his knee in the 2-1 win over Lyon and has not been seen since snubbing Pochettino's handshake on the way off the pitch, with the injury forcing him to miss victories over Metz and Montpellier.

There had been doubts over whether Messi would make it back in time for a reunion with Pep Guardiola, but in Monday's press conference, Pochettino revealed that the 34-year-old is back and available.

The boss did not go into too much detail, saying (via L'Equipe): "I won't confirm whether he starts until match day, but he is available."

Messi could be joined in the squad by midfielder Marco Verratti, who has been out since late August with his own knee issue.

"He has been training well the last few days," Pochettino continued. "We think he could be in the group."

Tuesday's game sees two of the pre-tournament favourites go head-to-head. While Pochettino may boast the most intimidating squad on paper, he insisted City have the advantage of being together as a squad for longer.

"It's a fact that we are a team under construction, not an opinion," he said. "We're playing against City, led by the best coach in the world who dreams of winning the Champions League.

"We also dream of winning the Champions League, but it is a dream. We are a club that only has 50 years of history. Maybe City are ahead of us but it's still a football game and anything can happen.

"I do not believe [City are PSG's biggest test]. The preparation for the season has been difficult because the group has had to get up to speed after returning from holidays, and then there was the transfer window. Each game has been a different challenge.

"But we have the satisfaction of having obtained good results once the group was settled. We know that the requirements in Paris is today, not tomorrow, and we must respond when the time comes."

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