Messi given Pochettino blessing to play for Argentina next month

By Sports Desk August 21, 2021

Lionel Messi has been given the blessing of Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino to link up with the Argentina national side for September's World Cup qualifiers.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has yet to play for new club PSG since completing a shock free transfer from Barcelona on August 10, having yet to regain full fitness since winning the Copa America.

However, Messi has taken part in a full week's training and Pochettino confirmed after Friday's 4-2 win against Brest that his compatriot is in contention to make his debut in next week's Ligue 1 clash against Reims.

That is PSG's final fixture before the first international break of the season, and Pochettino has no worries about the superstar forward travelling to Argentina if selected for duty.

"I have not yet spoken with the national team selectors," Pochettino told ESPN Argentina. 

"But they know that I am pro-selection and that we are to help not only Argentina, but all those nations which involve our players."

Neymar, who has also yet to play for PSG since reaching the Copa America final, was this week named in Brazil's squad for their upcoming fixtures.

Messi's most recent match of any sort was Argentina's Copa America final victory over Brazil on July 10.

The 34-year-old played a key role in his country's first major title in 28 years with four goals and five assists to win the Golden Boot.

Argentina have won three and drawn three of their opening six Qatar 2022 qualifiers and face Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia in next month's fixtures.

Related items

  • Man Utd negotiating departures for wantaway stars, Rangnick confirms Man Utd negotiating departures for wantaway stars, Rangnick confirms

    Manchester United are in negotiations with rival clubs in a bid to find solutions for their wantaway stars, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

    There are a number of high-profile players on the fringes of United's expensively assembled squad who might be interested in a move before the January transfer window closes.

    Reports suggest Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek are among those who might hope to leave before the end of the month.

    Lingard is a target for Newcastle United, Rangnick revealed prior to Saturday's win over West Ham, while Sevilla are said to hold an interest in Martial, and Van de Beek – formerly a top performer at Ajax – would surely have suitors.

    It had previously been suggested the Red Devils would be reluctant to reduce the size of their squad due to the risk of being left short in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.

    But Rangnick's latest comments appear to indicate United will work with those players who see their futures elsewhere.

    "I don't know [what's going to happen]," the interim manager said. "I know which players would want to leave.

    "I know that there are some negotiations with clubs but I am not involved in that. I will probably be posted and made aware if something is happening. We will all have to wait and see what happens."

    Lingard and Martial have found themselves further down the pecking order as the season has worn on.

    With teenager Anthony Elanga coming into the side, even Marcus Rashford has had to settle for a role on the bench, scoring as a substitute in United's past two matches.

    "We have a lot of wingers and outstanding players in that position," Rangnick. "Jadon [Sancho] was not available [against West Ham], but we have a lot of players for those two positions, and Marcus is one of them.

    "Right now, yes, he scored twice in two consecutive games when he came from the bench, but of course his ambition is to play regularly from the start.

    "And if he continuously plays on a high level and scores goals, of course this is the best way back in the team and to play from the beginning."

  • 'I hope there will be many more' - Ramos delighted with first PSG goal 'I hope there will be many more' - Ramos delighted with first PSG goal

    Sergio Ramos hopes his maiden Paris Saint-Germain goal will be the first of many after opening his account for the club.

    The defender was on target in the second half at the Parc des Princes as the runaway Ligue 1 leaders enjoyed a commanding 4-0 victory over Reims.

    Ramos was making only his second league start for PSG, with injury problems meaning he has endured a challenging start to life in the French capital since making the switch from Real Madrid.

    The 35-year-old was thrilled to mark his return to the starting line-up with a goal and 90 minutes under his belt.

    "I am very happy for this victory and for my first goal with this team," Ramos told Amazon Prime Video. "I'm glad I played 90 minutes. I like to have the support of the fans. It's good to have taken the three points.

    "This is my first goal with PSG and I hope there will be many more. The important thing is to improve physically day after day and show the best version of myself to the team."

    Mauricio Pochettino, whose side extended their unbeaten home run in Ligue 1 to 14 matches, also expressed his delight for Ramos.

    "I'm happy for him. It's important for him to finish a game," the head coach said. "In addition, with his goal, he validated all this. We will still work on his physical form.

    "We didn't play the way we wanted to do in the first half. Then we made a lot of mistakes.

    "In the second [half], we played better – with more pressure and presence. We found spaces, we scored, and continue to move forward."

  • Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Reims: Ramos opens account as PSG go 11 points clear Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Reims: Ramos opens account as PSG go 11 points clear

    Sergio Ramos scored his first Paris Saint-Germain goal as the Ligue 1 leaders cruised to a 4-0 victory over Reims.

    The defender, who has endured a challenging start to life in the French capital since his switch from Real Madrid, opened his account for Mauricio Pochettino's side with a close-range second-half finish at the Parc des Princes.

    Marco Verratti began the scoring with his first league goal in just under five years, while Wout Faes' own goal and a Danilo Pereira strike sealed the points as the hosts moved 11 points clear at the top of the table.

    PSG, who also welcomed back Lionel Messi following his absence due to COVID-19, have now won the last four Ligue 1 meetings between these sides, keeping a clean sheet on each occasion.

    Unbeaten in 13 home league games, PSG quickly took control of proceedings. Pereira headed over from a corner, while Kylian Mbappe shot straight at Predrag Rajkovic.

    The hosts broke through just before half-time; Icardi's blocked effort ricocheting for Verratti, who beat Rajkovic with a sweetly struck shot.

    Seeking only a third win from 15 away matches, Reims almost found a leveller after the break. Nathanael Mbuku drew a smart save out of Keylor Navas, before Hugo Ekitike sent the rebound over.

    However, it was PSG who doubled their lead in the 62nd minute as Ramos prodded home at the second attempt after his initial strike following a corner was parried by Rajkovic.

    Five minutes later, two became three with Verratti's strike taking two deflections – the latter off Faes – before nestling in the far corner.

    Mauro Icardi was denied shortly afterwards before Pereira got in on the act with a quarter of an hour remaining, latching onto Mbappe's centre before his deflected shot flew past Rajkovic.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.