Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino hinted on Tuesday that Lionel Messi would face Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for the first time in his squad’s Champions League opener against Club Brugge.
The Argentine, who left Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer, has yet to appear for the French side alongside the two other big stars and Pochettino is eager to share the excitement of the PSG fans.
“Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, together? I join this collective excitement, I’m just like everyone else, I’d be crazy not to want to see them play together,” Pochettino told a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s game. .
“Will we see them together tomorrow? Maybe, yes…”
In more than a month since he joined the club, Messi was seen as a substitute in a Ligue 1 match in Reims for just 24 minutes in a PSG shirt.
The 34-year-old was expected to make his full debut for the Qatar-owned club last weekend, but was eventually given a rest against Clermont after returning from his international match with Argentina.
However, Pochettino now looks set to unleash the six-time Ballon d’Or winner from the start at the Jan Breydel Stadium against the Belgian champions in the Group A opener.
However, the coach says Messi’s arrival is no guarantee of the Champions League success PSG crave.
“With those names you can get the feeling that we are ‘the team to beat’, but it is Chelsea, the defending champions, who are the team to beat,” said Pochettino, who led previous club Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2019 .
“They have become stronger, have spent a lot more money than PSG. But I have no problem.
“We are a club that has bought a lot of players this summer and recruited some very big names, but we have to convert all of this as a team, like Chelsea did last year.”
The Argentine coach also warned against writing off Wednesday’s opponents.
“Club Brugge dominates the Belgian league,” he said.
“Physically it’s a huge team, that can change systems, as I’ve seen in their last two games, from 5-3-2 to 4-3-3.
“You need absolute concentration and we have total respect for our opponent. There are only great teams in the Champions League.”