Lionel Messi during his return to PSG training. Alamy Stock Photo
on the continent

Messi rested for PSG cup tie, Bayern Munich sign Daley Blind

Argentina’s World Cup star restarted training in France on Wednesday.

ARGENTINA’S WORLD CUP winning captain Lionel Messi will not travel with Paris Saint-Germain for their French Cup tie with minnows Chateauroux on Friday.

The 35-year-old, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner only restarted training in France on Wednesday having celebrated his career crowning World Cup win three weeks ago.

PSG coach Christophe Galtier suggested the forward could play in their next league fixture on 11 January, at their Parc des Princes home to Angers.

“We want him to rest up and spend time settling with his family, he definitely won’t play tomorrow (Friday),” Galtier told a press conference on Thursday.

“I’ve spoken to him and we hope to work it out so he’ll be available for the next game,” he said.

Galtier also called upon PSG fans to provide the Argentine a warm welcome, despite his key role in defeating France in the final of the World Cup.

“It’s Lionel Messi and we are lucky to have him. So I hope our fans will celebrate his return.”

On Wednesday, Messi was given a guard of honour by his teammates at the club’s training ground.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar will also miss Friday’s match, with the French striker on holiday and the Brazilian nursing a twisted ankle.

Neymar picked up the injury in Qatar in their opener against Serbia, but scored in their last-16 win over South Korea before a painful elimination by Croatia.

“I’m not worried about Neymar, he’s down about the World Cup but I can see he’s fully invested for us,” said Galtier.

Galtier said the trip to third-division Chateauroux would be a good chance to run out some of the squad players.

lusail-qatar-09th-dec-2022-soccer-world-cup-netherlands-argentina-final-round-quarterfinal-lusail-stadium-netherlands-daley-blind-in-action-credit-tom-wellerdpaalamy-live-news-credit Daley Blind. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Elsewhere Bayern Munich have signed Netherlands midfielder Daley Blind, the club announced on Thursday evening.

The former Ajax and Manchester United player’s contract will run until the end of the season, with the possibility of an extension.

Blind, 32, terminated his contract by mutual consent with Dutch giants Ajax in December, six months before it was due to expire, and was officially a free agent.

Blind said he was thrilled to join the German champions ahead of the business end of the season.

“I can hardly wait to play here. We’ve got the most important part of the season coming up, where it’s about titles – and a club like Bayern can win every trophy,” Blind said.

“The hunger for titles here at the club was key in my decision. I hope I can bring my experience to help the team.”

In a statement on the club’s website, Bayern Sporting Director Hasan Salihamidzic welcomed the new arrival.

“We’re delighted that Daley is joining our team. Daley is a versatile defender, capable of playing on the left or in the centre.

“He has great international experience and leadership qualities. I’m sure he’ll help us.”

Blind has been capped 99 times for the Netherlands and played in each of the side’s five games at the World Cup in Qatar, scoring in their Round of 16 victory over the United States.

Blind, who came through the Ajax academy before playing 333 games with the senior side, won the Eredivisie title seven times and the Dutch Cup twice.

He also had a four-year stint at Manchester United, where he won the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup.

German tabloid Bild reports Blind, who plays with a heart defibrillator, undertook a medical check at Barmherzige Brueder Hospital in Munich on Thursday morning.

Blind has demonstrated his versatility throughout his career, playing in midfield, defence and on the wings.

Bayern are looking for additional cover in defence, particularly after left back Lucas Hernandez tore his ACL while playing for France at the World Cup.

Blind is expected to fly to Doha on Friday with the rest of the Bayern squad to take part in the team’s winter training camp.

Bayern re-start their Bundesliga campaign away at RB Leipzig on 20 January and meet French champions Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League Round of 16 on 14 February.

– © AFP 2023

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