Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe have been named to Paris Saint-Germain’s 22-man squad, which will face Reims on Sunday night.
It could be Messi’s first appearance as a PSG player since arriving at Parc des Princes earlier this month, while Mbappe feels like he’s being kept against his will after Real Madrid’s two applications for the striker.
Messi ended his 21-year relationship with Barcelona in early August and left as a free agent after the Catalan club failed to fulfill their offer for a new contract. The Argentine international then signed a two-year contract with PSG after an emotional farewell at Nou Camp.
The 34-year-old did not do any pre-season preparation, but trained with Mauricio Pochettino’s squad to get fit again after a long summer break after his country’s triumph at the Copa America.
He was introduced to fans along with other PSG summer signings Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum at their first home game of the season, a 4-2 win over Strasbourg.
In his pre-game press conference, PSG boss Pochettino said he would not rush Messi as the 34-year-old built his strength.
Pochettino said: “He [Messi] is very motivated. He’s a great professional who adapts very quickly to his new teammates and to a new context. “
Mbappe, who scored a goal in Paris’ win over Brest last Friday, is subject to Real Madrid’s continued interest as the summer transfer window draws to a close.
The La Liga club have a second bid of $ 170 million.
Real Madrid could also wait until January if they have the option to sign Mbappe on a pre-contract deal that would transfer him to Los Blancos for free next summer when his PSG deal expires.
The 22-year-old world champion has turned down PSG attempts to sign him under a new contract, telling the French side his dream is to play for Real Madrid.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo stood firm after the two offers, the first of which (valued at £ 137million) was rejected, with Leonardo saying the striker will only be sold on the club’s terms.
Since moving from Monaco in 2017, Mbappe has helped the club to eleven major national awards and scored 133 goals in 174 games for PSG.
Pochettino’s side aim to recapture the Ligue 1 title after Lille won the French premier league last season and have started their 2021/22 season strong with three out of three wins.
They meet on Sunday (kick-off 7.45 p.m.) against Reims, who drew with Nice in the opening game, drew 3: 3 against Montpellier and 1: 1 against Metz at the start of the season.