Lionel Messi claimed the seventh Ballon d’Or of his remarkable career on Monday, and the Paris Saint-Germain superstar was able to show off his latest honor during Wednesday’s Ligue 1 match against Nice despite struggling with a stomach bug.
The iconic Argentine appeared to be in good health when he extended his record-setting Ballon d’Or dominance during a star-studded ceremony in the French capital.
After feeling under the weather in the wake of the Ballon d’Or event, Messi was initially doubtful for the clash with Nice on Wednesday although he would make the starting lineup.
In a fitness update released on the club’s official website on Tuesday, PSG said: “Lionel Messi and Leandro Paredes did not participate in the training session today due to symptoms of gastroenteritis. A further check will be made tomorrow morning.”
But Messi since recovered to be included in Wednesday’s squad and start. He will also show off his Ballon d’Or trophy to the home crowd before the match.
“He had an upset stomach on Tuesday,” a source told GOAL about Messi. “He will be there [against Nice] but maybe not feeling 100%” .
Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping that Messi recovers in time to take to the field at Parc des Princes, since he will be without a number of other senior stars.
Brazil international Neymar will be missing for up to eight weeks after suffering ankle ligament damage during his last outing for PSG.
Julian Draxler is also sidelined with the German forward still a couple of weeks away from making a return to action, while midfielder Ander Herrera will return to training ahead of a meeting with Lens on Saturday.
Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is back in contention, while Argentine striker Mauro Icardi was ready to fill in for Messi after resuming full training on Tuesday.
Messi was recognized as the best player on the planet, but it wasn’t without controversy with many feeling that Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski should have claimed it. Messi’s trophy haul in 2021 featured a Copa del Rey with Barcelona and a Copa America with Argentina over the summer.
The 34-year-old has registered just one Ligue 1 goal so far in 2021-22 and four goals in all competitions, with spells out of action through injury and illness stunting his progress.