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PSG regretted Lionel Messi’s extended holiday in crushing loss to Ligue 1 title rivals Lens

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Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 title credentials are in doubt after they suffered a 3-1 defeat at rivals Lens on New Year’s Day.

The hosts took a fifth-minute lead at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis through Przemyslaw Frankowski before Hugo Ekitike hit an immediate equaliser for PSG. Lens restored their advantage through Lois Openda and Alexis Claude Maurice’s strike shortly after half-time completed the victory.

Sunday night’s result means Lens are just four points behind leaders PSG in the Ligue 1 title race. Supporters of the capital club will be wondering why Lionel Messi – Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain – was given an extended break after the tournament.

Messi will not return to training until Monday or Tuesday, as he was given a two-week break after the World Cup. In comparison, Kylian Mbappe – who scored a hat-trick for losers France in the World Cup final – has not missed any of PSG’s post-tournament games.

Some of Argentina’s other World Cup winners have already returned to action. Cristian Romero featured in Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa on New Year’s Day, and Julian Alvarez came off the bench in Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Everton 24 hours earlier.

PSG boss Christophe Galtier confirmed Messi’s lengthy break ahead of his team’s 2-1 win against Strasbourg on December 28, which was their first fixture after the World Cup. PSG needed a last-minute goal from Mbappe to clinch the points in that game

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