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Lionel Messi, PSG vs Reims, debut, news, start time, how to watch, live blog, Ligue 1, Barcelona transfer, Kylian Mbappe

Lionel Messi is set to make his debut for new team Paris Saint-Germain on Monday morning (AEST) when the French heavyweights travel to Reims.

Kylian Mbappe, coveted by Real Madrid, is in the squad to face Reims, along with Messi and Neymar, coach Mauricio Pochettino said.

The coach said that the ‘magic trio’ “will certainly be among those named, we will see if they can play from the start of the match.”

Watch Lionel Messi’s Ligue 1 debut Live & Free with beIN SPORTS on Kayo Freebies: Reims vs PSG, Monday 4:45AM. Join Kayo Freebies now >

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Messi has not featured in either of PSG’s two Ligue 1 games since arriving in the French capital as he continues to work up his fitness having returned to training late after captaining Argentina to Copa America glory on July 11.

The match at the 21,000-capacity Stade Auguste-Delaune — with its statue of former Ballon d’Or winner Raymond Kopa, the ex-Reims and Real Madrid great, outside — is a sellout, and the Champagne region is fizzing with excitement at the prospect of welcoming Messi.

That’s despite Reims having not won any of their last 11 Ligue 1 games, a run that looks likely to be extended this weekend.

PSG have won all three of their league games so far this season despite Neymar and Messi’s absence.

Messi needs to get minutes under his belt against Reims, so that he is not completely lacking in match sharpness before joining up with the Argentina squad for a series of World Cup qualifiers at the start of September.

The same applies to Neymar, who has also not featured for his club this season after playing against Argentina in the Copa America final and then enjoying an extended summer break.

Neymar and Messi could come up against each other again with Brazil due to host Argentina in Sao Paulo on September 5, although the international window is under threat with clubs elsewhere in Europe refusing to release players to travel to represent their countries.

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WILL MBAPPE LEAVE?

With time running out before the transfer window closes on August 31, it remains to be seen if Mbappe will feature in Reims, if the game could be his last in Ligue 1, or if he might already have left by then.

“If a player wants to leave, he will leave. The club, the project is bigger than any one person,” admitted PSG sporting director Leonardo.

Pochettino said Mbappe had not told him he wanted to leave PSG for Real Madrid. “Kylian has worked very well in training as usual”, Pochettino said. As for the striker’s contractual situation, “our president and our sporting director have been clear about the club’s position”, Pochettino added.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi reiterated at the Champions League draw on Thursday that the club had not changed its position and intended to keep Mbappe.

Losing Mbappe would be a hammer blow to PSG’s prestige, but then again having Messi and Neymar ready to step in suggests they might cope without the France forward.

HOW TO WATCH

Watch LIVE on BeIN Sports 3 (Channel 515) from 4am AEST ahead of kick-off at 4.45am.

Watch Lionel Messi’s Ligue 1 debut Live & Free with beIN SPORTS on Kayo Freebies: Reims vs PSG, Monday 4:45AM. Join Kayo Freebies now >

LIVE BLOG

Follow all the action in our live blog below. If you can’t see the blog, click here.

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