© Reuters.File photo: Football-Ligue 1-Lorient v Paris Saint-Germain-Stade du Moustoir, Lorient, France-December 22, 2021, Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain during the match Reuters/Stephen Maher
(Reuters)-Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi and three other players have tested positive for COVID-19, the French Ligue 1 club said on Sunday.
Argentina international Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain from childhood club Barcelona in August. The 34-year-old player has scored 6 goals in 16 games in all competitions in Paris.
Defender Juan Bernat, backup goalkeeper Sergio Rico and midfielder Nathan Bitumazzara are the other players who have tested positive. Paris Saint-Germain said that the four players are in isolation and abide by proper health procedures.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team topped the Ligue 1 standings with 46 points after 19 games, 13 points higher than second-ranked Nice. They will go to the third-tier club Vannes to participate in the 32nd round of the French Cup on Monday.
Pochettino said that he is not sure whether Messi, who is currently in Argentina, will participate in the next league match to be held at the Olympiad de Lyon on January 9.
“Messi has been in regular contact with our medical team. When his test result is negative, he will go to France, but we don’t know anything else. I don’t know if he will participate in the game against Lyon.
“Until his test result in Argentina is negative, he will not be able to travel to France. So, everything depends on when he can travel… We will assess when he is ready to compete.”
France reported 219,126 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in 24 hours on Saturday. This is the fourth consecutive day that the country has recorded more than 200,000 cases.
France has joined the ranks of the United States, India, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Russia, and the number of cases has exceeded 10 million.
Paris Saint-Germain also said that the Brazilian striker Neymar, who was sidelined due to an ankle injury, has about three weeks to resume training.
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