No Messi, Mbappe rift after World Cup final


Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier denied suggestions of a rift between Lionel Messi and teammate Kylian Mbappe after they faced off in the World Cup final.

Messi won his maiden World Cup title with Argentina after they beat France 4-2 on penalties following a thrilling 3-3 draw.

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The Argentina captain scored twice while Mbappe became the second player in history to score a hat trick in the men’s World Cup final.

Mbappe has already reported back for PSG and is set to feature against Strasbourg on Wednesday. Galtier said Mbappe was “very disappointed” but praised the France forward’s attitude.

“There is no reason to mix everything up in the relationship between Kylian and Leo [Messi],” Galtier said. “Kylian has a very good attitude having lost the World Cup.

“When you lose a World Cup final, you have a reason to be very, very disappointed. He was very disappointed, but he knew how to go on and behave, and had a lot of class to congratulate Leo and that’s very good for the club and for the team.”

Messi will return to PSG at the beginning of January, Galtier said on Tuesday.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will miss PSG’s home league game against Strasbourg on Wednesday and the trip to Lens on Sunday.

“Hey [Messi] had to return to Argentina for the celebrations, the receptions and we decided that he was going to be off until Jan. 1,” Galtier said at a news conference.

“And so he will come and join us, either on the 2nd or the 3rd, to be able to resume competition with us, when he will have had between 13 and 14 days of recovery.”

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Galtier also confirmed Neymar is “fine” after the club closely monitored an ankle injury he sustained at the World Cup.

“Concerning Ney [Neymar]we have seen his injury, but afterwards he played two games,” Galtier said.

“The first one on a moderate rhythm, the second one was more intense. He scored a magnificent goal, but then Brazil was eliminated, so he could take care of himself.

“Above all, there were 12 days of inactivity. Of course, he stayed in Brazil, but the entire medical team stayed around him to take care of his ankle.

“When he returned here on the Dec. 22, he worked inside. Immediately afterwards he trained outside without restrictions. He is fine on a physical level, his ankle is fine. On a mental level: he really wants to play, that’s a good sign.”

PSG issued a statement saying defender Presnel Kimpembe will continue his recovery from an Achilles tendon issue for four weeks, while Nuno Mendes could resume training in two weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during the World Cup.

PSG are top of Ligue 1 on 41 points after 15 games, five above second-placed Lens.



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