Soccer-PSG coach Galtier expects fully motivated Messi after World Cup

Soccer Football - Paris St Germain Training - Ooredoo Training Centre, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France - August 13, 2021 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi during training REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

(Reuters) - Paris St Germain coach Christophe Galtier expects Lionel Messi to be motivated for the rest of the Ligue 1 campaign regardless of how his Argentina team get on at the World Cup in Qatar.

Galtier, who arrived in the capital during the close season and has led PSG to a 22-game unbeaten run with a powerful attack spearheaded by Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Messi, said the trio's preparation this term has not only been for the World Cup.

"Why should I think that (I'll see a different performance after the World Cup)? Would that mean they've been preparing only for the World Cup? I can't think that," Galtier, 56, said in an interview with Spain's Marca newspaper.

"They've been preparing to be good at the start of the season with PSG. I don't think Messi will have a different motivation after the World Cup (which ends on Dec. 18)."

Messi is playing at his fifth World Cup and leads a wounded Argentina after they were stunned by Saudi Arabia who won 2-1 in their opening Group C match on Tuesday.

Amid rumours of a new destination for Messi next season, Galtier said the 35-year-old will stay with the Parisian side only if he is happy.

"There are many parameters. The first thing is his desire, does he want to continue at PSG, is he happy here? The first thing to know is if he wants to continue," Galtier added.

"All these decisions are made between the player and Luis Campos (PSG sporting director)."

Galtier said he also saw no reason for Mbappe to leave PSG to finally join Real Madrid -- a club he has been linked with in the past -- as he is sure the striker is happy in Paris.

PSG, who lead Ligue 1 by five points from Lens after 15 games, return to action at home to Strasbourg on Dec 28.

(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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