Lionel Messi among 4 players from PSG to test positive for Covid-19

Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi is among four players in the Paris Saint-Germain squad to have tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the team’s French Cup game on Monday night.

The Argentine forward will miss the Coupe de France game against Vannes on Monday as a result.

PSG named Messi, left back Juan Bernat, backup goalie Sergio Rico and 19-year-old midfielder Nathan Bitumazala as those who had tested positive.

“They are currently in isolation and are subject to the appropriate health protocol,” PSG said on their website.

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Last year’s runner-up Monaco was in action later on Sunday at second-tier Quevilly-Rouen in one of 13 games scheduled for the day as sides bid to reach the last 16.

Monaco said on Saturday that seven players had Covid-19 but none showed any worrying signs and were isolating.

PSG play their first Ligue 1 game of 2022 against Lyon next Sunday, but with former Barcelona captain Messi currently in Argentina he appears to be a significant doubt for that fixture, dpa reported.

Lionel Messi will miss Monday’s cup tie.

David Rogers/Getty Images

Lionel Messi will miss Monday’s cup tie.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino said: “Leo Messi has been in regular contact with our medical team and when he has a negative test he will travel to France, and we do not know any more than that.

“I do not know if he will be involved against Lyon,” he said.

“Until Leo Messi gets a negative test in Argentina, he will not be able to travel to France. It is all down to the test in terms of when he can travel. When he does, we will assess when he is ready to play.”

Mauricio Pochettino.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino.

New Covid-19 cases in France have surpassed 200,000 for four consecutive days, fuelled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

French authorities have been stepping up pressure on unvaccinated residents. The government is pushing parliament to pass a law in the next two weeks that would allow only vaccinated residents to enter restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums, and sports arenas.

France’s current “health pass” also allows access for people with proof of a negative test or having recovered from Covid-19.

If the law is passed, the health pass would become a “vaccination pass” that would also be required on inter-region trains and on buses and domestic flights.

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