SOCCER | PSG

Why isn't Messi playing against Strasbourg? When will his PSG debut be?

Lionel Messi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer this week, will have to wait to make his debut for the Ligue 1 club.

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Why isn't Messi playing against Strasbourg? When will his PSG debut be?
BERTRAND GUAY AFP

Lionel Messi won’t be making his debut for Paris Saint-Germain when Mauricio Pochettino’s men take on Racing Strasbourg in Ligue 1 this weekend, as the former Barcelona star remains well short of full fitness.

Follow PSG - Strasbourg live online: Messi, Ramos presentation in Paris.

Messi has hardly trained since early July

Messi, who joined PSG on a free transfer on Tuesday after ending his 21-year association with Barça, has barely trained since leading Argentina to victory over Brazil in the Copa América final on 10 July.

Before sealing his move to the Parc des Princes, the 34-year-old was not involved in Barça pre-season training as he was out of contract, and since arriving in Paris he has gone through his paces just twice.

PSG will make sure Messi fully fit before playing him - Pochettino

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, PSG head coach Pochettino said Messi would not be rushed into action. "Today was his second training session since the Copa América final," Pochettino said. "The priority for him is to feel better and better. Only then will we see if he is ready to play matches."

At his PSG unveiling on Wednesday, Messi himself admitted he would need some time to get back into top shape after a period of inactivity. “I’ve been on holiday and haven’t trained for a month […],” he said, “so I would imagine I’ll have to do an individual pre-season, train well and, when I’m ready, start playing.”

PSG, who finished second to Lille in Ligue 1 last season, host Strasbourg on matchday two of the new campaign on Saturday at 9pm CEST (3pm EDT), having begun their quest to regain the French title with a 2-1 win away to Troyes a week ago.

Messi in line for PSG debut against Reims or Clermont

After facing Strasbourg, the Parisians are due to visit Brest in Ligue 1 on Friday 20 August, a game that also looks like it’ll come too soon for Messi.

PSG's next five Ligue 1 fixtures:

  • PSG vs Strasbourg, Saturday 14 August
  • Brest vs PSG, Friday 20 August
  • Reims vs PSG, Sunday 29 August
  • PSG vs Clermont, Sunday 12 September
  • PSG vs Lyon, Sunday 19 September

The forward appears likeliest to get his first PSG run-out in one of the two fixtures that follow the Brest trip: at Reims on Ligue 1 matchday four on Sunday 29 August, or at home to Clermont on Sunday 12 September on matchday five, following the international break.