PSG star Lionel Messi reportedly spent Monday’s training session receiving treatment for a knock to his knee that he sustained in the club’s 2-1 win over Lyon, according to L’Équipe.
After rubbing his knee and working out his leg on the field, Messi signalled to the bench that he was fine to continue, but Pochettino decided not to take the risk given the club’s busy schedule.
A video appears to show the six-time Ballon d’Or winner looking in some discomfort with his knee, with the Argentine manoeuvring it in what looks like a bid to fix an issue.
For Doubters!!!!! Here is to show you the reason why Pochettino subbed off Messi. The player clearly felt something in his knee and the coach didn’t want to risk it. #PSG ?? pic.twitter.com/kC7frrLh31
— PSG Chief (@psg_chief) September 20, 2021
Speaking after PSG’s 2-1 win, Pochettino denied any suggestions of friction with Messi after the handshake snub.
“I took the decision to take Leo off to protect him for possible injuries. We have important games coming up and we want to protect him,” he said.
“These are decisions that we make for the good of the team. Everyone knows we have great players.
“We have a very rich squad of 35 players. Then we have to make choices. With the 11 who must start and then we have to make decisions during the game.
“Sometimes these choices pay off and sometimes they don’t. But that’s why we’re standing in front of the bench thinking about what to do. And those decisions that you have to make, whether things go well or not. Whether you like it or not.
“Afterwards, Messi told me he was fine with the decision.”
PSG maintained their unbeaten Ligue 1 run this season and are top of the table after their opening six league matches.
Pochettino’s men will return to action on 22nd September for their away match with Metz at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.