Lionel Messi trains for PSG return as World Cup celebration ends - in pictures

Argentina's Qatar hero expected to play against Angers on Wednesday

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Lionel Messi is expected to play for the first time since the momentous World Cup final in Qatar when Paris Saint-Germain host Angers in Ligue 1 on Wednesday.

Messi has been on an extended holiday since guiding Argentina to World Cup glory after an exhilarating final against France at the Lusail Stadium last month.

In the final, which turned out to be one of the greatest of all time, Messi's Argentina came out on top in the penalty shoot-out to beat France, despite Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick.

While Messi was away, Mbappe did not waste any time brooding over the World Cup heartbreak, returning to training just days after the final in Doha. However, in the absence of Messi – and Neymar – PSG suffered their first defeat since March last year when they fell 3-1 at Lens.

Messi did not take part in PSG's win at third-tier side Chateauroux in the French Cup at the weekend. But he could start as the Ligue 1 leaders play host to an Angers side who are bottom of the table and have lost their last nine league outings.

What will also be of interest is Messi's drive to succeed as his initial two-year deal in Paris is coming to an end.

The Qatar-owned club are in talks to extend his contract with manager Christophe Galtier insisting the former Barcelona star is settled in the French capital.

“I know there are talks and that the club has spoken to Leo but I don't know where they are at,” Galtier said.

“Leo seems to me to be happy in Paris and I think there is a real desire on behalf of the club to extend Leo's contract,” added Galtier.

Messi will be looking to get up an running for the high-profile friendly against a Saudi all-star XI made up of players from Al Nassr and Al Hilal, and will include the former's latest signing - Cristiano Ronaldo. The friendly is set to take place in Riyadh on January 19.

Updated: January 10, 2023, 1:59 PM
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