Lionel Messi arrives in France after recovering from COVID-19
Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine striker Lionel Messi is back in France after testing negative for COVID-19. The development was confirmed by PSG in a press release on Wednesday. PSG's statement also said that Messi is expected to resume training in "the coming days." Messi tested COVID-19 positive last week while visiting his native Argentina during the holiday break. Here are further details.
Why does it matter?
During his visit to Argentina, Messi was spotted attending a concert with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo in a viral video. He missed PSG's French Cup R32 match against Vannes on Monday, which his side won 4-0. PSG did not confirm whether the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner will be available for their first domestic game after winter break against Lyon on Sunday or not.
PSG statement on Messi
"The test carried out by Leo Messi was negative for COVID-19. He has arrived in Paris and he will resume with the group in the coming days," PSG said in a statement. PSG also confirmed that their French left-back Layvin Kurzawa has contracted coronavirus and is currently in isolation. "He has been placed in isolation and is undergoing the appropriate health protocol," it added.
Messi tested positive for COVID-19 in Argentina
Last week, it was reported that Messi contracted the virus while visiting his family in Argentina. On Sunday, January 2, PSG in a statement confirmed the news, saying that Messi along with three other players have tested positive for COVID-19. The other three players were - backup goal-keeper Sergio Rico, defender Juan Bernat, and mid-fielder Nathan Bitumazala.
How Lionel Messi has fared for PSG this season?
Messi joined PSG during the summer transfer window of 2021 from Barcelona. After a difficult start for PSG, he has looked to find his feet of late. He has scored one goal, besides providing five assists in 11 Ligue 1 appearances so far. However, he has netted five goals in the UEFA Champions League this season.
COVID-19 cases in PSG squad
Kurzawa's RT-PCR test returned positive on Wednesday morning. And, since then, he has been in self-isolation. Last week, goal-keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and teenager Nathan Bitumazala tested positive for the virus. The trio of Bernat, Rico and Pereira tested positive for COVID-19 in the same week as Messi and PSG are yet to give an update about their situations.
PSG's position in Ligue 1 table and upcoming games
PSG are leading the Ligue 1 table with 46 points from 19 games (14 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss). They are 13 points clear of second-placed Nice. PSG will next take on Lyon on Monday (01:15 AM) at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. Thereafter, they will play host to Brest on Sunday (01:30 AM), January 16, at the Parc des Princes.