Lionel Messi was not present during Paris Saint-Germain’s training session on Thursday amid rumours in Spain that ultras are planning to protest against him being at the club.
The Argentine played 90 minutes in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Brest, setting up Kylian Mbappe’s stoppage-time winner.
But he was nowhere to be seen on Thursday ahead of the weekend game against Rennes, and L’Equipe note that no official reason has been given for Messi’s absence.
Messi missed the session alongside Presnel Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Achraf Hakimi and Nordi Mukiele, while centre-back Sergio Ramos was forced inside early after picking up an injury.
Many were quick to speculate that Messi’s absence could relate to his uncertain future and reports that he was set to face a demonstration from a section of PSG supporters who are keen for him to leave the club.
Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo claimed that a group of PSG Ultras were prepared to heckle Messi during Saturday’s game, alleging that the forward’s high wages are not worth paying for a further season.
However, reports of that protest have been shut down by RMC Sport’s Arthur Perrot, who argued that no such information had been provided to the Spanish press.
Manager Christophe Galtier already has plenty on his plate following the Champions League elimination at the hands of Bayern Munich, with Ligue 1 success now even more important to the boss.
Any potential injuries to either Messi or Ramos would come as enormous blows to PSG, who already find themselves in the midst of an injury crisis.
If Ramos is injured, it would leave just 17-year-old El Chadaille Bitshiabu as the only natural centre-back in the squad, with midfielder Danilo Pereira drafted to help out at the back as well.
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