Lionel Messi has joined Paris Saint-Germain training and was given a warm welcome by superstar team-mate Kylian Mbappe.

Messi this week completed his stunning free transfer to PSG having left Barcelona.

The deal was completed on Tuesday, before the six-time Ballon d'Or winner faced the media on Wednesday. On Thursday, he was able to link up with his new team-mates.

On their official Instagram page, PSG posted a short video clip to their story showing Messi going through running drills.

Meanwhile, Mbappe – whose contract talks are now the club's chief focus – posted pictures of an embrace with the 34-year-old great.

"Welcome to Paris, Leo," he wrote, adding a further caption on his story: "Legend."

PSG are expected to move some squad players out to offset the cost of Messi's deal and a tentative first transfer was secured on Thursday.

Timothee Pembele, the 18-year-old defender who featured six times in Ligue 1 for PSG last season, has joined Bordeaux on loan until the end of the season.

Bordeaux have the option to sign Pembele permanently, too, with a PSG statement telling the teenager to "develop the qualities he has already shown".

Can Paris Saint-Germain get back on track? Are champions Lille in contention again? Could any top French sides face the drop?

Stats Perform aims to answer all of these questions and more as the new Ligue 1 season gets under way.

The Stats Perform League Prediction Model, created by Stats Perform AI using Opta data, has analysed the division ahead of the new season to assign percentages to potential outcomes for each club.

The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) based on teams' attacking and defensive qualities, which considers four years' worth of results, with weighting based on recency and the quality of opposition. The season is then simulated 10,000 times to calculate the likelihood of each outcome.

What does that mean for PSG and the rest of the French elite? Read on to find out...

POCH'S PSG TITLE FAVOURITES

It will surprise nobody, but PSG have been identified as the clear pre-season favourites. They are given a huge 79.5 per cent chance of reclaiming their title after falling behind Lille last term.

The signings of Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum should ensure PSG get back on track, while Mike Maignan, Boubakary Soumare and coach Christophe Galtier have all left Lille.

The defending champions are still considered PSG's most likely challengers, though.

Lille have a 12.4 per cent likelihood of retaining the championship, which puts them well clear of Lyon (5.7 per cent) in third. Monaco's 2.4 per cent bid to repeat their 2016-17 success makes them the fourth and final side to be given any chance at all.

TOP FOUR SEEMS SET IN STONE

Four into three does not go, so at least one of the title contenders will miss out on the Champions League. They should all make the top four, though, with Europa League qualification guaranteed for fourth place.

PSG unsurprisingly look certain for one of the two automatic Champions League spots, rated at 94.9 per cent.

Lille are considered most likely to join them at 54.6 per cent, leaving Lyon to take third – the Champions League third qualifying round (35.2) per cent – and Monaco fourth – the Europa League group stage (40.0 per cent).

There are at least a clutch of rival clubs given a slim hope of crashing the Champions League party; Marseille (0.5 per cent), Rennes (0.2 per cent) and Montpellier (0.1 per cent) are all just about in the running for second place.

Interestingly, Nice – ninth last term but having recruited Galtier – are not given a significant chance of even making the Champions League qualifiers, whereas Lens (0.2 per cent), Nantes (0.1 per cent), Reims (0.1 per cent), Saint-Etienne (0.1 per cent) and Strasbourg (0.1 per cent) all come into consideration.

Every team in the league have at least a 0.1 per cent likelihood of finishing fifth – a Europa Conference League play-off round place – although PSG are joined by newly promoted pair Troyes and Clermont with the most remote chance.

BIG-NAME BORDEAUX IN BOTHER?

It figures that Troyes (38.8 per cent) and Clermont (34.5 per cent) are backed for relegation straight back down to Ligue 2, but some of last season's top-flight sides are also at significant risk.

Brest are rated at a 26.4 per cent chance of relegation, with Angers at 19.0 per cent and Lorient at 15.0 per cent.

Most interestingly of all, though, Bordeaux are third-favourites for the drop behind the two promoted clubs.

The six-time champions won the title as recently as 2009 but have been in steady decline, even if a 12th-placed finish last time out saw them steer five points clear of the relegation play-off.

Indeed, Bordeaux were in the European picture in late January before an awful run and they will hope new coach Vladimir Petkovic can ensure there are no relegation worries in the coming campaign.

Reggae Girlz striker Khadijah Shaw could be making a move to England next season based on reports that she is to sign with Manchester City.

Neymar is progressing well in his recovery from an adductor injury, according to Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino. 

The Brazil star has been out of action since suffering the blow in PSG's Coupe de France win away at Caen on February 10. 

His timeline for a return put him on track to feature in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 clash with his former club Barcelona on March 10, PSG holding a commanding 4-1 lead in the tie. 

And, following PSG's 1-0 victory over Bordeaux on Wednesday, Pochettino gave an optimistic update on Neymar's status. 

He told a media conference: "Tomorrow, we will evaluate the players and the fact that we can recover a few players, that would be a good thing for the match on Saturday [against Brest in the Coupe de France]. 

"Neymar's progression is favourable. In the coming days, we will assess to see if he can be ready." 

PSG remain two points behind Lille at the top of Ligue 1, Les Dogues scoring twice in stoppage time to beat Marseille 2-0 and stay at the summit. 

"I think we started the game well. We had a good first half," added Pochettino. "In the second half, Bordeaux increased the pace of play, we suffered a bit, but then we controlled. We defended well and I'm very happy with the team's performance. 

"We know that we have 10 matches left and that if we win them, with direct confrontations, we know that we will be champions. 

"For all the time that I have been in the business, I know that you have to be patient." 

Pablo Sarabia scored the only goal of the game as Paris Saint-Germain won 1-0 at Bordeaux, though the result was not enough to send them top of Ligue 1.

Without the injured Neymar, the suspended Kylian Mbappe and Moise Kean, who tested positive for coronavirus, the champions were a long way from their best.

However, they survived an underwhelming display against a Bordeaux side in a dismal run of form, Sarabia's 20th-minute strike proving the difference.

The result would have sent PSG back to the top on goal difference had Lille not left it late to win 2-0 against Marseille, which kept them two points clear at the summit.

Sarabia should have done better with PSG's first clear-cut chance in the 17th minute, shooting straight at Benoit Costil from Julian Draxler's pull back.

But he made no mistake three minutes later, taking one touch to control Idrissa Gueye's pass into the box before lashing a left-footed strike into the bottom-right corner.

Bordeaux responded well and Hwang Ui-Jo curled narrowly wide from outside the box, with the South Korean denied a minute into the second half by a scrambling Keylor Navas after the ball came into his path at the far post from a corner.

Danilo Pereira and Marquinhos got in each other's way at the other end, failing to take advantage of Draxler's free-kick after both had been left unmarked.

PSG continued to look vulnerable and were almost undone by a former player when Hatem Ben Arfa powered just past the left-hand post.

And they needed late heroics from Navas to preserve victory, the Costa Rica international diving to his right to keep out Jimmy Briand's stoppage-time header.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Moise Kean has tested positive for coronavirus. 

The 21-year-old will miss Wednesday's Ligue 1 clash with Bordeaux and is likely to be unavailable for Saturday's Coupe de France visit to Brest. 

Kean could also be a doubt for the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Barcelona, which takes place next Wednesday in Paris. 

PSG are already without the injured Neymar and suspended Kylian Mbappe for the game with Bordeaux at the Matmut Atlantique Stadium. 

Kean has scored 15 goals for PSG in all competitions this season since joining on loan from Everton. 

Mauricio Pochettino's side head into the Bordeaux contest two points behind league leaders Lille, who host Marseille.

Mauricio Pochettino insists Paris Saint-Germain have the quality to beat Bordeaux even without suspended superstar Kylian Mbappe in the first of "11 finals in Ligue 1".

With Neymar still recovering from an injury that has limited him to 18 appearances across all competitions, Mbappe has been PSG's key man this season.

The World Cup winner has been involved in 32 goals (23 goals, nine assists) in 31 games, 15 more than the next-best PSG total (Neymar, 17) and 10 clear of his nearest Ligue 1 rival (Memphis Depay, 22).

Absent this time due to yellow card accumulation, Mbappe has missed five previous matches for PSG this term, of which they have lost three, scoring only five goals across these encounters.

But Pochettino is not looking for excuses against a side he briefly represented after leaving Paris as a player.

"[Mbappe] is one of the most important players on our team," the coach said. "It will not be easy to replace him.

"But we have good players in our group and the collective has the tools to win games.

"Against Bordeaux, we also have the opportunity to show that we are a great team."

PSG enter the midweek round of fixtures in second, two points behind Ligue 1 leaders Lille, although a run of four wins in five matches has closed the gap.

There remains work to do in the title race, but PSG have reached the stage of the season where important games are on the horizon across all competitions.

Describing the "11 finals" in the league to the club's media channels, Pochettino similarly emphasised the importance of beating Brest in the Coupe de France and capitalising on their Champions League advantage against Barcelona in his news conference.

However, that will not distract from the focus on Bordeaux, even if they have just one win in 19 attempts against PSG in Ligue 1.

"Three games in three different competitions is the reality," Pochettino said. "But we will prepare the team as if we were only playing finals.

"For now, we think only of the Bordeaux game as if it were the last. I think thinking like that will help us achieve the goal of winning.

"We have to think only about our own performance. We have 11 games left in Ligue 1; we are focused on that and especially on the Bordeaux game.

"If we win the remaining 11 games, we will be champions."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.