Lionel Messi has been handed an injury scare just two weeks out from the World Cup, although PSG have played down any fears.
The Argentine, who has helped his country embark on a mammoth unbeaten run following their Copa America success last summer, is eyeing glory in Qatar having confirmed this will be his final World Cup. Winning the tournament has eluded Messi throughout his career, but he will be crucial to his country’s chances.
PSG take on Lorient this weekend in Ligue 1, yet Messi is due to miss the contest with an inflamed Achilles tendon having played the entirety of their win against Juventus in midweek. The Parisians do expect the forward to return to full training next week and be involved in their game with Auxerre in a weeks’ time.
That will be the final game before France’s domestic football pauses for the World Cup with Argentina beginning their campaign on November 22 against Saudi Arabia. Injuries have already seen several major names face up to the reality of watching, rather than playing, in the World Cup.
Messi has confessed that getting injured is a concern but tries to play naturally having seen compatriots Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria both suffer fitness blows.
He said last month: “Injuries are a worry. This is a different World Cup which is played at a different time of the year to previous tournaments and it’s so imminent any little thing that happens to you can force you out. With what happened to Dybala and Di Maria, the truth is that personally you worry and you’re more afraid when you see those sort of things.
“It’s something you think about but I feel going out to play with that in your head can be contradictory as well. The best thing you can do is perform as normal and play your game as you always do. I hope Di Maria and Dybala recover in time. They have enough time to do so and reach the tournament in good shape.”
Messi has been in sensational form for PSG this term following a mixed debut season in the French capital. Already he has scored 12 times and provided 14 assists in 18 games across all competitions so far this year and looks as impressive as ever in what could be a historic season for the 35-year-old.
Argentina have not won the World Cup since 1986 when Diego Maradona played a staring role in Mexico. Messi’s best effort in World Cups so far was a final appearance eight years ago when Germany defeated them in extra-time with Mario Gotze netting the winner in the Maracana.