Lionel Messi will miss Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League clash with Benfica on Tuesday, but head coach Christophe Galtier expects the forward to return for next weekend’s game with Marseille.
The Argentina international missed out on his side’s ill-tempered Ligue 1 match with Reims over the weekend with a calf injury, and was forced to watch from the sidelines as they played out a goalless draw.
Hopes that the 35-year-old might return in time for the crucial European clash with their Portuguese visitors have been dashed now, too, with Messi set to miss out again.
But while Galtier confirmed he would be an expected absentee, he suggested that the attacker is close to a return to action, and could well feature in Le Classique on October 16.
“Messi felt discomfort in his calf during the first game against Benfica,” he stated. “He thought he could take part in tomorrow’s game, but in the end, he would be limited.
“He is better, but he still has an unpleasant feeling. He preferred to abstain. We will watch his recovery, but it is very likely that he will be present against Marseille.”
Galtier acknowledged losing Messi is a blow, with the Argentinian having rediscovered his form after a difficult first season with PSG following his exit from Barcelona, having scored five goals and added seven assists in Ligue 1 this term.
“We know the importance of Leo to our game, his form and the connection he can have with the other players,” Galtier added. “We cannot be happy with his absence.
“But we will have to find other solutions and other connections where we can bring danger to the Benfica defence.”