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L. Messi

Will Messi face angry reception at PSG? Galtier discusses return of World Cup winner after Argentina's mockery of France

11:30 GMT+4 02/01/2023
Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23
Christophe Galtier is confident that World Cup winner Lionel Messi will be given a good reception when he returns to Paris Saint-Germain.
  • Argentine icon downed Les Bleus at Qatar 2022
  • Wild celebrations enjoyed in South America
  • Preparing to rejoin squad at Parc des Princes

WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine icon dashed French dreams at a global showpiece in Qatar, with his exploits in the Middle East – which included two goals in the final and a successful spot-kick during a nerve-shredding penalty shootout – preventing Les Bleus from claiming back-to-back crowns. An extended break has been taken in on the back of those international heroics, with PSG still waiting to welcome Messi back into their ranks at Parc des Princes following wild celebrations in South America that included plenty of controversial digs at France and prominent members of their squad – such as Kylian Mbappe.

WHAT THEY SAID: Galtier does not expect any issues when the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner does return – on or off the pitch – telling reporters when asked if Messi will generate an angry reaction from disgruntled France followers that are yet to forgive him: “Obviously he will be well received at home. On the reception at the stadium, I have no doubt that he will be well received at Parc des Princes. He won the most beautiful of trophies by being very good in this World Cup. Above all, now that he has achieved this incredible goal, we must remember what he has done since the start of the season with the team.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Galtier went on to confirm Messi’s return date, adding: “We will be very happy to welcome him. Leo will surely come and join us on January 3.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Messi was a notable absentee as PSG suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat of the 2022-23 campaign against Lens on New Year’s Day, but he will have rejoined star-studded ranks in the French capital ahead of a French Cup clash with Chateauroux on Friday and a next league date with Angers on January 11.