Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi is one of four players from the Paris Saint-Germain team to have tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the team’s Coupe de France match on Monday night.
As a result, the Argentine striker will miss the Coupe de France match against Vannes on Monday.
PSG named Messi, left-back Juan Bernat, substitute goalkeeper Sergio Rico and 19-year-old midfielder Nathan Bitumazala as those who had tested positive.
“They are currently isolated and are subject to the appropriate health protocol,” PSG said on its website.
* Premier League: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in Covid isolation, absent for Chelsea game
* PSG fans give new recruit Lionel Messi a huge ovation at Parc des Princes
* Lionel Messi says PSG are ‘best place’ to win Champions League as club unveil new signing
* “This is Paris”: football icon Lionel Messi signs two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain
Last year’s runner-up Monaco were in action later Sunday at Quevilly-Rouen, second division, in one of 13 games scheduled for the day as the teams tried to reach the final 16.
Monaco said on Saturday that seven players had the Covid-19 but none were showing worrying signs and were not isolating themselves.
PSG will play their first Ligue 1 game in 2022 against Lyon next Sunday, but with former Barcelona captain Messi currently in Argentina there appears to be a significant doubt for this game, dpa reported.
Head coach Mauricio Pochettino said: “Leo Messi has been in regular contact with our medical team and when he tests negative he will travel to France, and we don’t know more.
“I don’t know if he will be involved against Lyon,” he said.
“As long as Leo Messi does not get a negative test in Argentina, he will not be able to travel to France. It all depends on when he can travel. When he does, we’ll assess when he’s ready to play.
New cases of Covid-19 in France have exceeded 200,000 for four consecutive days, fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
French authorities have stepped up pressure on unvaccinated residents. The government is pushing parliament to pass a law within the next two weeks that would only allow vaccinated residents to enter restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums and sports arenas.
France’s current “health pass” also allows access to people with a negative test or who have recovered from Covid-19.
If the law is passed, the health pass would become a “vaccination pass” which would also be required on interregional trains and on domestic buses and flights.