Lionel Messi will not be included in Paris St Germain’s squad for Friday’s Ligue 1 game at Brest, French daily L’Equipe reported, adding that his former Barcelona team mate Neymar has also been left out.
Verratti was also part of Italy’s squad which beat England in the Euro 2020 final on penalties at Wembley, while Di Maria scored Argentina’s winner in a 1-0 victory over hosts Brazil in the Copa America showpiece.
Earlier on Thursday, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino had left open the possibility that Messi could feature against Brest when he declined to specify whether the six-times Ballon d’Or winner would finally make his debut.
The 34-year-old Messi is yet to feature for the French giants after joining them from Barcelona earlier this month and he was presented to the fans ahead of PSG’s 4-2 home win over Strasbourg on Saturday.
Everything is positive,” Pochettino told a news conference at PSG’s training camp. “There is a good atmosphere in the squad and (Messi) has settled in well and quickly. There is a very good feeling.”
Messi had not trained for a month after helping Argentina to their Copa America triumph.
Having won 10 LaLiga and four Champions League titles during his 17-year career at Barcelona, Messi left them on a free transfer after the Catalan club’s president Joan Laporta said they could no longer afford to keep him.
Pochettino also suggested speculation that Kylian Mbappe might leave PSG in the current transfer window amounted to nothing, with the France World Cup winner a target for Real Madrid, according to media reports.
“Mbappe is our player and I want him to be here this season,” said Pochettino.
“He has another year left on his contract. Even if he doesn’t renew it, he is still a PSG player and we are very pleased with him and from what I can understand, he is pleased with us.
“He is very calm and preparing well for tomorrow’s game.”
PSG can provisionally go three points clear at the top of the table if they beat Brest to make it three wins out of three at the start of their campaign to wrestle the league title back from last season’s champions Lille.
They are currently third on six points, behind leaders Angers and promoted Clermont Foot on goal difference.
De Bruyne, Kante and Jorginho up for UEFA player of the year
Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Chelsea pair N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are in the running for UEFA’s 2020-21 male player of the year award after topping an all-midfield shortlist published on Thursday.
All featured in Euro 2020 — De Bruyne for Belgium, Kante with France and Jorginho with winners Italy — and the shortlist is the first in the 11-year existence of the award to feature only midfielders.
UEFA did not reveal the number of votes cast for the three.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, the six times Ballon d’Or winner who has moved from Barcelona to Paris St Germain, was fourth on the list.
Bayern Munich’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, last year’s winner, came in fifth with PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma and Kylian Mbappe sixth and seventh.
The top player from Euro 2020 finalists England was Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling in eighth. Portugal and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was ninth and Norway and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland 10th.
The votes were cast by coaches of the 24 national teams that featured at Euro 2020 as well as 80 coaches of clubs that played in the group stages of UEFA’s competitions and journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations.
The winner will be named on Aug. 26, along with UEFA’s women’s player of the year and Champions League positional award winners, at the Champions League group stage draw in Istanbul.
The women’s shortlist is comprised of three Barcelona midfielders — Jennifer Hermoso and Lieke Martens along with Alexia Putellas.
The shortlist for men’s coach of the year featured Champions league finalists Pep Guardiola of Manchester City and Thomas Tuchel of Chelsea along with Italy’s Roberto Mancini.
The women’s team coach of the year has two men in the running with Barcelona’s Lluis Cortes and Sweden’s Peter Gerhardsson up against Chelsea’s Emma Hayes.
Ronaldo rubbishes ‘disrespectful’ reports of Madrid move
Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday blasted reports that he was trying for a return to Real Madrid, hours after coach Carlo Ancelotti also said he was not going to take the Juventus forward back to Spain.
In an Instagram post, Ronaldo said that his “story at Real Madrid has been written”, although he did not explicitly say that he was not looking for a way out of Juve.
He said that such talk was “disrespectful” to both him and “to all the clubs involved in these rumours, as well as to their players and staff”.
“There have been frequent news and stories associating me with a number of clubs in many different Leagues, with nobody ever being concerned about trying to find out the actual truth,” Ronaldo added. “I’m breaking my silence now to say that I can’t allow people to keep playing around with my name. I remain focused on my career and in my work, committed and prepared for all the challenges that I have to face.” Ronaldo has been the subject of a series of rumours about his future this summer. On Tuesday Italian daily Corriere dello Sport said that his agent Jorge Mendes had offered the 36-year-old to Manchester City.
other outlets said that Paris Saint-Germain were interested but stepped back once they pulled off the signing of the close season, bringing free agent Lionel Messi to the French capital.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ancelotti said that Real Madrid were not interested in the return of the man who fired the club to four Champions League triumphs.
“Cristiano is a Real Madrid legend and he has all my love and respect. I have never considered signing him. We look forward,” Ancelotti said on Twitter.
Since moving to Juve in 2018, Ronaldo has won two Serie A titles and one Italian Cup, but has not brought the European glory the Italian club craves.