Football

Lionel Messi accused of disrespecting Mauricio Pochettino with ‘shocking’ actions

Lionel Messi has been accused of “disrespecting” Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino after he reportedly did not tell him that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Messi, who joined PSG last summer after leaving Barcelona, had returned to Argentina for Ligue 1’s winter break, where he tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

The forward was one of four PSG players to record positive tests and it ruled him out of the club’s French Cup fixture against Vannes on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference, Pochettino said Messi would not return to France until he tested negative, and local media reports have indicated the former Tottenham manager only found out about Messi’s positive result through third parties.

And former PSG player Jerome Rothen has now claimed that Pochettino has been “disrespected” by Messi, and has warned that the manager risks losing the dressing room if he does not manage to regain control.

“You must always respect your coach, this is what I was taught in Clairefontaine,” Rothen told Radio Montecarlo. “The coach must be above everyone else, it does not matter if it is a star or a youth player – the boss must be the head of the time.

“Pochettino was not updated as to where Messi was, and that explains a lot of things. This is not a good thing and I think it is very shocking from Messi.

“’Pochettino is being disrespected by Lionel Messi. The coach must be the strong man, the one who shows the real values. The only one who strongly respects him, in my opinion, is Kylian Mbappe and I do not sense anything with the other players.

“If you don’t respect your coach then you cannot be successful. PSG has suffered a lot from this in recent years.”

Messi has had a difficult start to his first season at the Parc des Princes, scoring just one league goal for the club in 11 appearances so far.

The 34-year-old scored five times in the Champions League group stages, however, with the French club facing Real Madrid in the last-16.

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