Lionel Messi and three Paris Saint-Germain teammates tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss time, the team announced Sunday.
“The 4 players that tested positive for Covid-19 are Leo Messi, Juan Bernat, Sergio Rico and Nathan Bitumazala,” the French Ligue 1 club said in a statement. “They are currently in isolation and are subject to the appropriate health protocol.”
Paris Saint-Germain plays Vannes in the Coupe de France round of 32 on Monday. The club returns to the pitch on Jan. 9 to play Lyon.
Messi, a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, tested positive while in his hometown of Rosario in Argentina. It is uncertain if Messi could clear protocols and travel in time to return for the Jan. 9 match.
“Messi has been in regular contact with our medical team, and when he has a negative test, he will travel to France, but we don’t know any more than that. I don’t know if he will be involved against Lyon,” coach Mauricio Pochettino told reporters.
“Until he gets a negative test in Argentina, he will not be able to travel to France. So it is all down to the test in terms of when he can travel … we will assess when he is ready to play.”
The club also announced Neymar will remain in Brazil receiving treatment with members of the PSG medical and performance staff. His return to training is about three weeks away. Neymar suffered a leg injury in October and a gruesome ankle injury at the end of November.
Messi tests positive for COVID-19
Messi, 34, joined the club in August after spending his entire professional club career with Barcelona, where he also played youth level. He has one goal in 11 Ligue appearances and five additional goals in five Champion League matches.
Bernat, a fullback, tested positive upon arriving for training out of the holiday. Backup goalkeeper Rico and teenage midfielder Bitumazala will also miss time.
Much like the United States, France is experiencing a spike in new daily COVID-19 cases. The country reported 219,126 new cases on Saturday, marking the fourth consecutive day it hit at least 200,000 new cases. The seven-day moving average of new cases is 157,651, nearly five times what it was a month ago, per Reuters.