Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino has rejected the idea that the French champions are trying to tap up Barcelona legend Lionel Messi after France Football released an issue with the Argentina international on the front cover in a PSG shirt.
The article in question detailed Neymar's role in trying to convince Messi to reunite with him at Parc des Princes after their Barca days together and also came up with various financial scenarios that could come into play if the pair were to play together again in Paris.
Speaking at his prematch press conference, Pochettino distanced PSG from the report and insisted that no player quotes or publications represent an advance from the Ligue 1 giants toward Messi.
"We are talking here about a publication that has nothing to do with PSG," Pochettino said on Tuesday. "When a player speaks, they speak with emotion -- there is no controversy. At no time did we disrespect anybody. There was never any wrongdoing.
"The players can talk on their own, say who they want to play with and that goes for Barca, Real Madrid, or anybody else. We have total respect for every other club. Do not confuse France Football for PSG as the same thing."
Barca boss Ronald Koeman did not take kindly to Lyon coach Rudi Garcia getting involved in the discussion of PSG's interest in Messi when he spoke with the press earlier on Tuesday.
"As I said the other day, if PSG want to speak with Leo about his future, let them," said the Dutchman. "Now the Lyon boss has got involved. It seems to me that he likes speaking a lot with the press. It does not matter for me."
Pochettino also confirmed that Angel Di Maria will likely miss the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 clash between PSG and Barca after picking up a right thigh problem in the 2-0 win away at Marseille over the weekend."
Yes, as communicated, he will be reassessed in one week," said the South American tactician. "We will communicate his progress again, but it seems that the Barca game has been compromised for him."
Of course, Angel is an important player for us. However, we have a large squad with players who can help and play matches. Not having Angel in Barcelona will not force us to move away from our main plan.
"Undoubtedly, the best solutions will be identified. Never take some competitive games as rehearsals for others. We take the competition as it is and need to perform well."
PSG face Caen in the Coupe de France this midweek before Nice in Ligue 1 on the weekend before the trip to Catalonia.