Playing his first home game for Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi was taken off in the 76th-minute by compatriot Mauricio Pochettino in favour of another newcomer Achraf Hakimi. However, it was later revealed that Messi’s substitution had more to do with the Argentine’s fitness than tactical reasons.
French media outlet L’Équipe reported that the 34-year-old playmaker had suffered a knock above his left knee during PSG’s bout against long-term rivals Olympique Lyon. While the Parisians ran out 2-1 victors thanks to an injury-time winner by Mauro Icardi, Messi looked sufficiently displeased on being subbed off.
According to several reports, the former Barcelona legend checked into training with apparent discomfort in his knee. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner could be seen limping his way through the ground and had to spend the majority of the day on the treatment table.
His toppling fitness will be of great concern to Pochettino, considering PSG’s stacked schedule in the upcoming weeks. To add to his worries, Messi had received a horror tackle around the same area during Argentina‘s qualifier match against Venezuela. While Messi was able to shrug off the challenge, his opponent was given his marching orders due to the mistimed tackle.
PSG visit relegation fodder FC Metz in their next fixture. Having already played three games for his new team, Lionel Messi is yet to open his scoring.