Lionel Messi is racing to be fit for Paris Saint-Germain's UEFA Champions League clash with RB Leipzig on Wednesday (only on Paramount+) after being substituted midway through last Friday's Ligue 1 victory over Lille OSC with a muscle issue.
The legendary Argentine was replaced by Mauro Icardi at the break with the French giants 1-0 down to the defending titleholders though late Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria goals secured all three points at Parc des Princes.
Messi, 34, scored twice against Leipzig last time out in a 3-2 win which left PSG atop UCL Group A, leading rivals Manchester City with the Germans bottom of the group without a single point to their name after three games.
The former Barcelona man is working hard to be ready for the clash with Jesse Marsch's men, but Kylian Mbappe's return to health and the end of Angel Di Maria's suspension means that Mauricio Pochettino is now better equipped to deal with Messi's absence -- if confirmed.
Meanwhile, Messi has spoken with SPORT in Spain and admitted that his adaptation to life in the French capital has not been straightforward with international breaks regularly impacting his ability to bed in with his new teammates.
"I feel like I have been part of this dressing room for a long time because there are so many people who I know and so many who speak Spanish," he said. "Obviously, that makes the adjustment period quicker, honestly. In a sporting sense, though, it feels like it is yet to truly start as there are internationals every month. It makes things tougher, and I have not played many times despite being here for two months now."
15 - Lionel Messi is the player with the most shots this season in Ligue 1 without scoring (15 shots, 4 on target). The Paris striker had not gone five league games in a row without finding the net in the Top 5 european leagues since October 2020 (also 5). Tricky. #PSGLOSC pic.twitter.com/xwCETKyhmj— OptaJean (@OptaJean) October 29, 2021
Messi also stated his belief that PSG are among the Champions League favorites and that it is his and the club's shared goal for the future as well as sharing the dressing room with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
"Yes, when I joined, it was one of the main reasons," he said. "When I decided to come, PSG having such a great team, a desire to keep growing and to win the UCL after years of trying helped me to decide.
Leo Messi on future Barça return to @sport: “Barcelona return? Yes... I’ve always said it that I would love to be able to help the club. I’d love to be a technical secretary at some point. I don't know if it's going to be at Barcelona… I would like to contribute again” 🔴🇦🇷 #FCB— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 31, 2021
"The whole dressing room is spectacular. They have made it very easy for me. Ney and I go way back, and we stayed in touch even when not playing together. With Kylian, it was weird early on as we did not know if he was staying or going. Now we are getting to know each other more on and off the pitch."
Messi also expressed his hope at winning an unprecedented seventh Ballon d'Or title later this month while also opening the door to a post-playing career return to Barca in a "technical secretary" role at Camp Nou or elsewhere.
PSG take on Leipzig on Wednesday and you can follow that and all the other Champions League action exclusively on Paramount+.