Lionel Messi will sit out Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers with Chile and Colombia, as coronavirus “hit him hard.”
The world footballer of the year was struck down by Covid over the festive period, and his return to France was delayed.
He has made only one substitute appearance since Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-1 draw with Lorient on December 22.
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Messi updated his social media followers to say his return to competitive action would not be a rapid one, and Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has confirmed one of football’s biggest names struggled with the illness.
"Clearly we would love to have Messi here with us," Scaloni said when announcing his squad on Wednesday. "I spoke to him and he told me that Covid hit him hard.
“It is key for him to get well, and that is why I decided that the best option was for him to stay at his club."
Argentina have already booked their passage to Qatar, and Angel Di Maria will captain the country against Chile on January 27 and Colombia on February 1.
PSG are back in action in the French Cup against Nice on January 31, while their next outing in Ligue 1 is against Lille on February 6.
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