Lionel Messi has admitted that it has taken him longer than expected to bounce back from Covid-19, having tested positive for the virus during Ligue 1’s winter break.
Messi returned to Argentina following Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-1 draw with Lorient on December 22, holidaying in his home country over Christmas. He returned a positive test before he was due to fly home to rejoin his teammates in Paris, leading to a period of self-isolation.
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That saw him miss PSG’s 4-0 win against Vannes in the French Cup, followed by their 1-1 draw against Lyon on Sunday. While Messi has been able to fly back to France, PSG announced last weekend that he would be undertaking an “individual post-Covid recovery programme” before being reintegrated back into the team.
Posting on Instagram on Thursday evening, Messi confirmed that he was back in training but still shaking off the effects of the virus. “As you know I had Covid and I wanted to thank you for all the messages I received and to tell you that it took longer than I thought to be well, but I have almost recovered and I am really looking forward to getting back on the pitch,” he said.
“I have been training these days to get to 100%, very beautiful challenges are coming this year and I hope we can see each other again very soon. Thank you!!!”
Messi remains a doubt for PSG’s meeting with Brest on Saturday evening, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side looking to regain their momentum in Ligue 1 after a series of frustrating draws. Les Parisiens are still 11 points clear at the top of the table and, barring an incredible run from Nice or Marseille, look set to win their 10th league title.
It has been a strange debut season for Messi in France, with the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner tallying a single goal in Ligue 1 so far. While he has five goals in five appearances in the Champions League, it has been a quiet campaign by his extremely high standards.
Speaking about his move to the Parc des Princes last month, having made an emotional departure from Barcelona in the summer, Messi said: “Moving to Paris was a big change because we lived in the same place for many years and it was not easy to change, but the truth is that we are very well, in a spectacular city, in one of the best teams in the world, so we are very happy.”
Asked about his ambitions for the rest of the season, Messi suggested that he will measure the success of his first season at PSG by their achievements in Europe. “The objective this year for Paris Saint-Germain is to try to attain everything that we play for and obviously the objective is the Champions League, which we are trying to attain,” he said.
“I think that’s everyone's goal, in a special competition where all the great teams want to win, and we’ll try to achieve that too.”
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