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L. Messi

Galtier thanks PSG fans for giving Messi warm post-World Cup reception & talks up his 'physical level' after Angers win

6:33 pm AEDT 12/1/23
Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23
Lionel Messi received a warm reception in his first post-World Cup outing for Paris Saint-Germain, much to the delight of Christophe Galtier.
  • Argentine back in action at club level
  • Dashed France's dreams in Qatar
  • Among the goals again in Ligue 1

WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine superstar was given an extended break on the back of inspiring his country to global glory in Qatar, with a return to training made on January 4. Messi has been eased back into the PSG fold since then, but the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner wasted little time in getting back to work as he was among the goals in a 2-0 victory over Angers on Wednesday – with home supporters welcoming him back with open arms despite seeing Argentina dash France’s World Cup dreams during an epic final encounter in the Middle East.

WHAT THEY SAID: Galtier told reporters afterwards of Messi being given the reception he deserves: “Thank you and congratulations to the supporters for welcoming him as he was welcomed. Believe me, it warms his heart.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite having close to a month off on the back of his Golden Ball-winning exploits at the World Cup finals, Messi slipped seamlessly back into competitive action alongside Neymar and Co against Angers. Galtier added: “Leo had recovered well, he had a lot of sessions with us. He seems calm, light, very fit on a physical level. Obviously, with or without Leo, it gives another option. He seemed fine to me physically. I had spoken with him at half-time and as the match progressed to find out how he felt physically. He felt good. It was important for him to play again quickly and for the team to find Leo in the heart of the game. The fact that he was able to play the whole game is even better.”

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WHAT NEXT? With Messi back up to speed and Kylian Mbappe ready to be absorbed back into Galtier’s squad after being granted a rest after his own World Cup exploits, PSG – who sit six points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table – will be in action again on Sunday when taking in a trip to Rennes.