Pep Guardiola hopes ‘exceptional’ Lionel Messi is fit to face Manchester City for PSG

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 Lionel Messi trains today with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe (AFP via Getty Images)
Lionel Messi trains today with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe (AFP via Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola has said that he hopes Lionel Messi is fit to face Manchester City for Paris Saint-Germain as the pair meet in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Messi has missed PSG’s past two games with a bone bruise and is a doubt for the Group A encounter at the Parc des Princes.

While the Argentine, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, could reform a lavish and threatening front three with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, Guardiola hopes that Messi is available to take on the Spaniard’s side.

“This type of player speaks for itself on the pitch,” Guardiola said of Messi, who he managed at Barcelona.

“What he has done in his career is more than exceptional and hopefully tomorrow he can play for the benefit of the game.”

After a more than 20-year association with Barcelona, Messi departed this summer after the club fell into financial difficulty.

Guardiola admitted that the move to PSG surprised him: “It was a surprise for everyone but what happened happened. Everyone now accepts it.

“A long time ago you couldn’t imagine it but it happened. In life itself you never know what happens. What is important is he’ll be happy in Paris.”

Manchester City beat PSG 4-1 on aggregate at the semi-final stage of last season’s Champions League.

The Qatari-owned club have strengthened significantly since then, however, with Messi recruited alongside some of European football’s best and brightest, including Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos.

Lionel Messi with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona in 2012 (David Ramos/Getty Images)
Lionel Messi with Pep Guardiola at Barcelona in 2012 (David Ramos/Getty Images)

Guardiola, whose side top Group A after beating RB Leipzig 6-3 in the first round of fixtures, believes Manchester City will be in for a tough challenge as they visit Paris.

“They are huge competitors. It’s a new game, it’s the group stage, it’s different. We will see.

“PSG have a very good team, more or less the same as last season, adding Messi and (Georginio) Wijnaldum and a few others.

“They are stronger this season, they have a bigger squad. It’s going to be more or less the same game as last season, very tight.”

PSG were held by Belgian side Club Brugge in their opening fixture of their Champions League campaign.

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