Lionel Messi returns after Covid as Sergio Ramos scores first PSG goal

Marco Verratti scores first Ligue 1 goal since May 2017 as PSG cruise to 4-0 win over Reims

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Lionel Messi returned to action in Paris Saint-Germain's comfortable 4-0 win over Reims on Sunday as Sergio Ramos scored his first goal for the club since joining from Real Madrid last summer.

Victory restored PSG's 11 point lead at the top of Ligue 1 after Nice briefly cut the gap with a 2-0 win at Metz.

"We had a good game, we took three points," said PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Messi, who has been sidelined since contracting Covid-19 at the start of January, started on the bench while Kylian Mbappe returned to the starting lineup after a groin strain and Ramos made only his second league start of the season.

Marco Verratti put PSG ahead in the final minute of a sluggish first half, drilling home his first league goal since May 2017.

"It's good that a player who doesn't score often, does," said Pochettino.

PSG asserted their dominance after the break and were soon 2-0 up as Ramos scored his first goal for the club. The central defender reacted quickest to a loose ball from a PSG corner. After his first shot was parried by Predrag Rajkovic, the Spaniard reacted fastest again to slam home the rebound.

PSG's Sergio Ramos celebrates. AP Photo

"I am happy to have played 90 minutes and I am personally happy because it is my first goal with PSG, I hope there will be many more," said Ramos.

"It's been three weeks since I started playing normally with the group," he said. "We have the cup, we have the league, we have the Champions League, this is the best time to arrive in shape."

Pochettino was happy with the goal.

"It's good that he scored like Marco. He had a good game," said the manager.

That goal brought Ramos level with Messi on one league goal this season, it also acted as the cue for Pochettino to send Messi on.

In the 67th minute, Messi set up Verratti for a shot that deflected off two defenders and into the top corner.

Danilo Pereira added a fourth as PSG matched their biggest league win of the season.

Updated: January 24, 2022, 7:10 AM