Lionel Messi will miss Paris Saint-Germain’s game away to Metz on Wednesday due to a knee injury which coach Mauricio Pochettino has said was the real reason behind his surprise decision to take the six-time Ballon d’Or winner off against Lyon at the weekend.
The Argentine star underwent an MRI on Tuesday after taking a knock to his left knee during Sunday’s 2-1 win. Results showed signs of bone bruising, the club said in a statement.
Messi was replaced by Achraf Hakimi, a full-back, after 76 minutes against Lyon, on his first home appearance as a PSG player since arriving from Barcelona.
The 34-year-old appeared to reject Pochettino’s hand as he walked past his coach towards the Paris bench but the former Tottenham Hotspur boss later defended his decision to take Messi off without mentioning the injury.
On Tuesday he admitted that Messi’s fitness was the reason he made the change with the scores level at the time.
“On the touchline we are always observing the players, seeing what is happening during the match, and we saw that Leo was looking at his knee,” Pochettino told reporters.
“We are pleased with the way he played. He played very well in the first half, and the only thing missing was a goal.
“He played for 76 minutes and with all the information we had we decided to take him off,” added Pochettino, who said he accepted that substituting a player of Messi’s status might surprise observers.
“Of course I understand the situation and I accept it as it is.