Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed that Lionel Messi will miss Saturday's Ligue 1 fixture with Stade Brestois 29 as he continues to recover from his recent positive test for COVID-19.
The Argentina international is back in Paris, as is teammate Neymar, but has not yet been able to return to match action and PSG say "good progress" has been made by Messi ahead of a "gradual" return to squad training next week.
"Neymar is on track with his recovery and Lionel is doing better but remains under the orders of the medical staff," said head coach Mauricio Pochettino on Friday ahead of the clash with Brest. "We hope that he can be with us again soon. It seems clear that he will not be available for this weekend."
On the topic of potential international call-ups for the South American contingent, Pochettino insists that no decisions have been made yet.
"Our analysis with Leo is day by day and we hope to have him back very soon," he said. "No decision has been made, though, so I do not know which decision this referring to. Marquinhos is a very important player for the team who has been with the club for years. Regarding the international break, we will see when the time comes which players leave."
On top of Messi and Neymar, Denis Franchi has tested positive for COVID-19 while Alexandre Letellier continues to receive calf treatment which means that Sergio Ramos could make his latest appearance this weekend.
"We are always looking ahead," said Pochettino. "We must plan for the future. Sergio has been inactive for a few months, but he is training with the squad. He will improve both in training and on the pitch."
Regarding the visit of Brest, Pochettino wants PSG to start 2022 in front of their fans in strong fashion by registering a win after last week's draw away at Olympique Lyonnais.
"A good start at Parc des Princes is important," he said. "Training has been good in terms of atmosphere with many players involved. It is very important to come away with the win."
PSG postponed their Qatar Winter Tour (QWT) earlier this week due to COVID-19 concerns so they will now remain in France between this clash with Brest and the visit of Stade de Reims next week with OGC Nice also coming to the capital in the Coupe de France before the end of January.
"In view of the health situation in France, PSG has decided to postpone the QWT 2022 to protect the health of its staff and players," read a club statement. "Announced last September, this three-day mini-training camp from January 16-18 and the friendly match in Riyadh on January 19 have both been postponed, with future dates to be confirmed."
Meanwhile, PSG also teamed up with Wild and the Moon this week to launch a limited edition new range of health drinks with the plant-based, organic, and gluten-free specialists as the French giants continue to be trendsetters by creating a diet-conscious takeaway area in their new Champs-Elysees store.
"With Wild and the Moon, we are opening a new and exciting chapter that will surprise many but is essential for a lifestyle and top-class sports brand like PSG," said Brand Director Fabien Allegre.