Messi tests positive for COVID-19 and misses PSG cup clash

By Sports Desk January 02, 2022

Lionel Messi has tested positive for COVID-19, Paris Saint-Germain have announced.

The Argentine forward and seven-time Ballon d'Or winner will miss the Coupe de France game against Vannes on Monday as a result.

French giants PSG said Juan Bernat, Sergio Rico and Nathan Bitumazala had also tested positive.

"They are currently in isolation and are subject to the appropriate health protocol," the Ligue 1 leaders announced on their website.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino is expected to field a young side in the domestic cup game, with Neymar also unavailable as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

PSG said Neymar would continue to be treated in Brazil for another week. "His return to training is still expected to be in about three weeks," the club said.

Pochettino said in a news conference: "We have been living with the virus for two years now, and I think we all know we need to avoid it.

"But it is a virus we have been living with for a long time and there is still a lot that we do not know about how it works.

"Leo Messi has been in regular contact with our medical team and when he has a negative test he will travel to France, and we do not know any more than that."

PSG play their first Ligue 1 game of 2022 against Lyon next Sunday, but with former Barcelona captain Messi currently in Argentina he appears to be a significant doubt for that fixture.

"I do not know if he will be involved against Lyon," Pochettino said. "Until Leo Messi gets a negative test in Argentina, he will not be able to travel to France.

"It is all down to the test in terms of when he can travel. When he does, we will assess when he is ready to play."

Related items

  • Almeria 1-2 Real Madrid: Alaba's stunning first touch seals opening day win for champions Almeria 1-2 Real Madrid: Alaba's stunning first touch seals opening day win for champions

    Substitute David Alaba scored a stunning free-kick with his first touch as Real Madrid started their LaLiga title defence with a 2-1 turnaround win over Almeria on Sunday.

    Carlo Ancelotti's side started poorly at the Power Horse Stadium in Andalusia, and fell behind inside the opening 10 minutes courtesy of a clinical finish from former Manchester United youth player Largie Ramazani.

    Madrid struggled to find a way past an inspired Fernando Martinez in the Almeria goal, before Lucas Vazquez, who had an effort ruled out in the first half for offside, eventually pulled Madrid level shortly after the hour mark.

    Alaba replaced Ferland Mendy in the 74th minute and with his first touch curled a sumptuous free-kick past Fernando from 25 yards to seal all three points.

    Madrid's defence was caught out in just the sixth minute when Ramazani latched onto Inigo Eguaras' superb ball over the top and fired past Thibaut Courtois from just inside the penalty area.

    At five minutes and 50 seconds, that was the quickest goal Madrid have conceded on the opening day of a league season since Sergio Aguero scored against them for Atletico Madrid in August 2007.

    Los Blancos had a whopping 17 shots before the interval, yet a combination of smart goalkeeping from Fernando and uncharacteristically wasteful finishing from Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior prevented them from finding a leveller.

    Fernando continued to frustrate Madrid after the break, denying Benzema with a fine save, but he was eventually beaten in the 61st minute when Vazquez slammed home after the Almeria goalkeeper had kept out Vinicius' effort. 

    Alaba then ensured Madrid went back to the capital with maximum points, whipping past a helpless Fernando immediately after entering the action.

    What does it mean? Madrid bounce back to deny plucky hosts

    Almeria had won just one of their 12 games against Madrid in LaLiga prior to Sunday's clash, but they looked like they might earn a famous victory thanks to Ramazani's early strike and some inspired goalkeeping from Fernando.

    Vasquez and Alaba had other ideas, though, as Los Blancos stretched their unbeaten run on the opening day of LaLiga to 14 games.

    Alaba's instant impact

    Alaba did not need to settle into the action before dispatching a glorious free-kick past Fernando with his first touch. That goal meant he is one of only two players, alongside Real Betis' Nabil Fekir, to have scored two goals from free-kicks in LaLiga since the start of last season.

    Fantastic Fernando

    Fernando can consider himself exceptionally unlucky to have finished on the losing side. The 32-year-old made an incredible 13 saves to frustrate the visitors, but there was little he could do about Madrid's two decisive strikes.

    What's next?

    Madrid are away at Celta Vigo on Saturday, while Almeria visit Elche two days later. 

  • 'You can only sit back and watch' - Bayern's Davies dazzled by Mane 'You can only sit back and watch' - Bayern's Davies dazzled by Mane

    Sadio Mane is a "top player" who "you can only sit back and watch", says Bayern Munich team-mate Alphonso Davies after Sunday's 2-0 win over Wolfsburg.

    The Senegal international, who arrived from Liverpool ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season, has made an instant impact at his new home, setting the Bundesliga alight with his performances.

    A superb league debut in a 6-1 rout of Eintracht Frankfurt last week saw him get himself on the scoresheet, and only a VAR intervention stopped him from finding it again this weekend.

    But even without another goal to his name, Mane - who fired the Reds to a domestic cup double last term and his country to Africa Cup of Nations glory, plus World Cup qualification - has left his team-mates impressed.

    "Sadio Mane, you see this guy, he's a top player," Davies told the Bundesliga's official website. "He's hard-working, he's fast, we try to get the ball to him as much as possible because he's a very quick guy.

    "He's a good player. We're happy to have him here. He feels good in the team and as you can see, the performances he's [shown] lately, you can only just sit back and watch."

    Dayot Upamecano also offered high praise for the forward, adding: "We know he's a very big player, he's helping us a lot. We're all very happy he's here.

    "He gave me tips about a lot of things. He's one of the best players in the world and everyone of us is happy that he's here."

    With two wins from two to start the new season, Bayern are flying in defence of their Bundesliga crown, one they earned last year despite a string of so-so performances and a frustrating Champions League campaign.

    But Davies feels they have turned a page this term for Julian Nagelsmann's sophomore season, adding: "This year, we have a mindset that we want to keep.

    "Last year wasn't too ideal for us in [the] competitions but this year, we have some new faces [and] fresh legs. It's the beginning of the season, you want to keep this momentum going. We're just enjoying playing football."

  • Tottenham midfielder Lo Celso joins Villarreal on loan for a second time Tottenham midfielder Lo Celso joins Villarreal on loan for a second time

    Argentina midfielder Giovani Lo Celso has returned to Villarreal on loan for the 2022-23 season from Tottenham.

    The 26-year-old joined the LaLiga side in January after making just nine Premier League appearances for Spurs in the first half of the 2021-22 campaign.  

    He scored one goal across 22 appearances in all competitions as Unai Emery's side reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

    Villarreal started their LaLiga season with a resounding 3-0 win at Real Valladolid on Saturday. They are next in action on Thursday when they host Hajduk Split in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.