Messi already back in Paris after Covid recovery
Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi is said to have returned to the French capital after producing a negative PCR test.
The 34-year-old first tested positive for Covid while holidaying in hometown Rosario over Christmas and New Year.
Along with wife Antonella, he was captured dancing and singing without a mask at a party which was one of several he is said to have attended.
A DJ, Fer Palacio, received death threats while accused of passing on the virus to the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.
The confirmation of Messi being among four PSG players with Covid meant that he was ruled out of Monday's 4-0 win over Vannes in the Coupe de France where Kylian Mbappe bagged a hat-trick.
Coach Mauricio Pochettino stated that Messi, who isolated in Rosario and on Instagram described Covid as a "sh*tty virus", would only return to France once he had tested positive.
Reports from Argentine outlet Ole state that Messi has already recovered and returned to Paris.
Similar to when he joined PSG as a free agent in the summer from the Catalans, Messi will now have other physical tests with doctors described as being similar to a pre-season medical.
Lionel Messi has left Rosario and is on his way to Paris through a private plane. His PCR came out negative. This via Ole and the picture from Juan José García. pic.twitter.com/673gPGC9vK— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) January 5, 2022
This is to make sure he is fully fit and ready for action, and guarantee that Covid hasn't left any effects on the Argentine.
If all is well, the Qatari-backed giants ideally want Messi to join the rest of the squad for an away trip to Lyon on Sunday evening. But that could be jumping the gun given the length of time he has gone without training.
The number 30 last played on December 22 in a 1-1 draw at Lorient when Sergio Ramos was red-carded.
Thus far, he has also endured a tricky start to life in Ligue 1 like his former Real Madrid nemesis, netting just a single goal in the French top flight across 11 appearances while injuries have blighted his progress too.