Lionel Messi has been ruled out of Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 clash with Bordeaux through injury, but the forward is expected to be available for Argentina’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi was replaced at half-time in PSG’s 2-1 comeback win over Lille last week and subsequently missed Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
The Barcelona legend is continuing to struggle with a knee and hamstring issue and will not be risked against Bordeaux on Saturday as Mauricio Pochettino’s side look to tighten their grip on top spot.
Messi also missed a string of games upon joining PSG from Barca in August, but Pochettino is hopeful his compatriot can return to action during Argentina’s games with Uruguay and Brazil over the next fortnight.
“Lionel’s not available on Saturday and will not travel with us,” Pochettino said at Friday’s pre-match news conference. “We hope that he’ll be available for Argentina and return to us afterwards.”
Messi has had 15 shots in Ligue 1 without finding the net since arriving on a free transfer from Barcelona, failing to score from an expected goals value of 1.9, with his only three goals for PSG coming in the Champions League.
The superstar forward is not alone in enduring a frustrating start to a new career outside of Spain, with team-mate Sergio Ramos yet to feature for the club since joining on a free transfer from Real Madrid in July.
Reports from France this week suggested PSG chiefs are growing restless with Ramos on his road to recovery, but the experienced centre-back is now closing in on a return to action.
PSG confirmed on their official website on Friday that Ramos is set to take part in full training next week, potentially meaning he could make his long-awaited debut against Nantes on November 20.
Happy birthday Marco
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) November 5, 2021
Pochettino’s side are eight points clear at the top of the table, but they have often had to rely on late goals to pick up victories and were held by Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek.
Despite that setback, Pochettino is happy with the progress made by his side since he took charge at the start of the year.
Indeed, PSG have won 76 per cent of their Ligue 1 games in 2021 (25 of 33) – only Manchester City (26 of 34) have a better success rate in the top five European leagues over the year.
“I am a satisfied coach,” Pochettino said. “The commitment is there to see, though there is the requirement to do better each game. If we score 100 goals, we want more; if we stop a penalty, we want to stop two.
“Today I am satisfied with the state of mind. If the results are there, it’s because there is will. We know that the performances will get better and better.
“We are progressing collectively and individually. We have recruited many players and have a squad of 33. We are in a process of construction and have to tackle the priorities, such as helping players adapt.
“From there we can develop a way of playing based on a collective organisation and solid foundations. As a coach I want to win every match 5-0, to have 75 per cent possession, to play attacking and recover the ball as quickly as possible.
“But this is a long process, this is not something I think about while I sleep.”
PSG are unbeaten in their last 12 Ligue 1 meetings with Bordeaux and have scored at least once in their last 17 meetings in the competition.
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