Paris, Oct 10 (EFE).- Paris Saint-Germain will be without Lionel Messi in Tuesday’s Champions League match against Benfica in Paris after the Argentine star was ruled out with a calf injury.
Messi was substituted after opening the scoring during last week’s 1-1 draw against the Portuguese giants and has been unable to recover in time for the return fixture in the French capital on Tuesday night.
“We thought, and he thought as well, that he would be able to take part in tomorrow’s game,” PSG head coach Christophe Galtier told a press conference.
“There has been very little time – six days – between the two matches. He is doing much better but he still has that unpleasant feeling (in his calf), so in a match of this importance, he preferred to sit this game out,” the French manager added.
Galtier said he expected Messi to be fit to face Marseille at the weekend.
He acknowledged that while Messi’s absence “of course changes things,” it would not overly affect the side’s performance, insisting that PSG would have to “find other situations and connections to create danger to the Portuguese defense.”
“We have been working in the past 24 hours on a redistribution of our positions, to have more variety in our attacking plan,” he said, adding that the on-field connection between Neymar and Kylian Mbappé was strong despite the French star’s displays of frustration during PSG’s last two matches, which both ended in draws.
Meanwhile, Messi’s international teammate, defender Nicolas Otamendi, said his injury was “an important loss” for PSG but that it does not “at all change our way of thinking, our way of playing.”
PSG and Benfica are level at the top of Group H, so a win for either side would greatly boost their chances of making it through to the Round of 16.
Last season’s third placed team in the Portuguese Primeira Liga have never won in three visits to the Parc des Princes. EFE