“He was delighted and maybe even a little touched by this applause,” Gaultier said Thursday. “We are lucky to have a player like him.”
Gaultier said the record-breaking seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was ill-equipped to start Friday’s French Cup match at the third-tier Chateauroux.
“Leo trained yesterday and today. Obviously he won’t play tomorrow. He had an extraordinary World Cup with a lot of physical effort and challenges,” said Galtier. “After talking with him, he’s trying to get ready for the next fight. Let’s see. I hope he’s ready for (Angier).”
Châteauroux is 14th in the third-division National League, but at least he doesn’t have to face Messi, Kylian Mbappe or Neymar.
Neymar missed Thursday’s training. Gaultier said it was purely a precautionary measure and that Neymar, who injured ligaments in his right ankle while playing for Brazil at the World Cup, will be resting for Châteauroux.
Mbappe and Moroccan right-back Achraf Hakimi are on vacation in the United States this week after playing a back-to-back French league game right after returning from the World Cup.
Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick for France in the World Cup final, was greeted with thunderous applause from fans when he attended the Brooklyn Nets game in the NBA on Monday night.
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