Lionel Messi is expected to make his first appearance for Paris Saint-Germain since their World Cup triumph in a Ligue 1 clash at home against Angers on Wednesday, as the Qatar-owned club looks to link the Argentine with a new contract.

The 35-year-old took part in training with his teammates on Tuesday, just over three weeks after inspiring Argentina to victory over France on penalties in an epic World Cup final in Qatar.

He was granted a two-week holiday in his home country after the tournament, before returning to Paris and receiving an honor guard at PSG’s training ground last Wednesday.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who scored 12 goals in 19 games this season for his club ahead of the World Cup, did not feature in PSG’s victory over third-tier Chateauroux in the Coupe de France on weekend week.

But it could start when the Ligue 1 leaders host a bottom-table Angers team that has lost its last nine league games.

It will be closely watched how Messi approaches the second half of the campaign in France after a career-defining World Cup, with his initial two-year contract in Paris coming to an end.

However, the Qatari-owned club is in talks to extend his contract with manager Christophe Galtier insisting that the former Barcelona star is based in the French capital.

“I know that there are conversations and that the club has spoken with Leo, but I don’t know where they are,” Galtier told reporters on Tuesday.

“It seems to me that Leo is happy in Paris and I think there is a real desire on the part of the club to extend Leo’s contract,” added Galtier, who said Luis Campos, PSG’s football adviser, was in talks with representatives of Messi together with President Nasser al-Khelaifi.

Kylian Mbappe, scoring a hat-trick for France in the World Cup final, can rest again for PSG’s midweek game after missing out on the French Cup victory when he took a holiday in New York along with his teammate Achraf Hakimi.

Neymar has been receiving treatment for the ankle injury he suffered playing for Brazil in the World Cup, while Italian midfielder Marco Verratti is out for a PSG side who suffered their first defeat of the season in their last league game at Lens. New Year’s Day.

AFP