Single-minded Messi targets strong finish to year with PSG

PARIS: With Argentina’s place on the 2022 World Cup safe, Lionel Messi can shift his focus solely to ending the 12 months “in the easiest way potential” with Paris Saint-Germain after an injury-hit begin to life in France.

Messi missed PSG’s final two video games earlier than the worldwide break with a mixture of knee and thigh points and has but to attain in Ligue 1, the place he has been restricted to simply 5 appearances.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner returned to motion instead in his nation’s 1-Zero victory over Uruguay. He then began the 0-Zero draw with Brazil that helped Argentina clinch qualification for Qatar.

“I’m doing nicely, in any other case I wouldn’t have performed,” Messi informed Argentina’s TyC Sports activities community after the Brazil recreation.

“It’s not simple to play a match with as a lot rhythm as this one. I do know that little by little I’m going to step it up. I hope to have the ability to end the 12 months nicely.”

Messi may characteristic for PSG at residence to Nantes on Saturday except Mauricio Pochettino decides to maintain his compatriot contemporary for the journey to Manchester Metropolis subsequent week within the Champions League.

His first purpose for PSG got here in a 2-Zero win over Metropolis in September, and a second victory over Pep Guardiola’s crew would doubtless earn them first place within the group.

Earlier than that, the league leaders host a Nantes facet managed by former PSG defender and coach Antoine Kombouare, who masterminded a shock win final March on the Parc des Princes.

“It’s time to vary the main target as a result of I nonetheless have numerous want to proceed combating to attain the targets that we set right here at PSG and I wish to keep centered and dealing to attain it,” Messi wrote on Instagram after touchdown again in Paris on Wednesday.

“There may be solely a month and a half left till 2022 and I want to end this 12 months in the absolute best method and with extra good moments that we are able to obtain in France.”

Monaco host Lille on Friday in a gathering of two golf equipment who’ve failed to copy their type from final season, whereas second-placed Lens go to Brest.

Good go to Clermont on Sunday earlier than the conflict of the weekend between Lyon and Marseille.

Participant to look at: Gaetan Laborde

The league’s joint-top scorer with eight targets this time period, Rennes ahead Laborde faces a reunion with the membership with whom he started the season as Montpellier travelled to Roazhon Park on Saturday.

Laborde scored 3 times in 4 video games for Montpellier earlier than becoming a member of Rennes for 15 million euros ($17 million) simply earlier than the switch deadline.

He hasn’t slowed down since arriving in Brittany, bagging one other 5 targets in Ligue 1 for his new facet who’ve received seven of their final eight matches in all competitions.

Key stats

1 – Brest is the one Ligue 1 crew to have scored in each recreation this season. They didn’t win any of their first 11 matches however have since recorded back-to-back victories.

300 – variety of profession appearances for Kylian Mbappe. The 22-year-old has scored 190 targets, hitting 4 in an 8-Zero rout of Kazakhstan final weekend that despatched France to subsequent 12 months’s World Cup.

 

Fixtures (all occasions GMT)

Friday

Monaco v Lille (2000)

Saturday

Paris Saint-Germain v Nantes (1600), Rennes v Montpellier (2000)

Sunday

Brest v Lens (1200), Angers v Lorient, Metz v Bordeaux, Strasbourg v Reims, Troyes v Saint-Etienne (all 1400), Clermont v Good (1600), Lyon v Marseille (1945)

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