The Argentine was not included in Mauricio Pochettinos final squad for the trip to Stade Louis II

Why was Lionel Messi left out of Paris Saint-Germains clash with Monaco? GOAL is here to explain the reason behind the seven-time Ballon dOr winners surprise absence.

PSG arrived at Stade Louis II on Sunday looking to take another big step towards the Ligue 1 title, with Mauricio Pochettinos side boasting a commanding 16 point lead at the top of the table after 29 games.

Messi was not included in Pochettinos final 21-man squad for the trip to Monaco, though, raising fears over his fitness heading into the business end of the season.

Messi was one of seven first-team players unable to make the final squad, with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Angel Di Maria missing out through injury.

PSG gave a short explanation for each players absence on their official website, and Messi was declared unavailable due to a bout of flu, which he has been treated for over the past three days.

????✔️ The Parisian squad ???? @AS_Monaco_EN #ASMPSG https://t.co/ZXU7lnU11J pic.twitter.com/WjbLbygbsG

No official time frame has been given for Messis recovery, but supporters will hope that he will be back to full fitness after the international break.

The 34-year-old is due to link up with the Argentina squad for World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Ecuador this week, with PSG not due back in action until April 3 – when Lorient are due to arrive at Parc des Princes.

Messis first season at PSG has been disrupted by a number of fitness issues, with the forward managing just 26 appearances across all competitions for the club to date.

The former Barcelona superstar, who moved to Parc des Princes on a free transfer last summer, has now missed 11 games due to a combination of injuries and illness, which goes some way to explaining his modest contribution of just seven goals and 11 assists.

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