Paris Saint-Germain had been desperate for Lionel Messi not to be called up for international duty in the next break, and the French club have had their wish granted with Lionel Scaloni leaving the former Barcelona star out of his squad to face Chile and Colombia.
Argentina have already booked their place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, so have no real reason to push in these matches, hence why the French club made a direct appeal to the AFA to leave Messi out of the squad.
Injuries have plagued Messi’s season, and contracting COVID-19 over the New Year period has made life even more challenging for him.
PSG need Messi ready and available on February 15, with that being the date that the club face Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.
The Parisian club has felt the pain of missing stars at this stage of the Champions League before, with Neymar actually having to wait until his third year at the Parc des Princes before being able to make a meaningful contribution after the group phase.
Messi’s missed games
Messi has missed 12 of 26 matches PSG have played since he put pen to paper in the summer, and the consequence of that is that he hasn’t really been able to build much rhythm with his teammates.
This, coupled with Neymar’s absence, has put renewed dependence on Kylian Mbappe, who probably won’t even be at the club next term, and Mauricio Pochettino has watched results and performances wane.
It’s no surprise that Messi is seen as vitally important, not just for what he brings on the pitch from a technical standpoint, but his experience of winning the Champions League.