PSG will face Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, Dec. 28, in the return of club football and the Ligue 1. With Neymar and Kylian Mbappe having trained for a few days now, they could play as early as this week with PSG. Will they, though?
France adopted the famous Boxing Day structure this season with matches pertaining to matchdays 16 and 17 taking place in the span between Christmas Day and New Year this season. Action will resume on Wednesday/Thursday and all French teams will be back on the schedule for games staged to take place on Dec. 31/Jan. 1 next weekend.
The latest news coming from PSG's Camp des Loges training facilities touched on the status and ahead-of-time recovery of Portugal international Danilo. He was expected to be left out of all matches through mid-January at the very least but he landed in Paris earlier this month and was seen running and touching the ball last week already.
Other players to arrive earlier than expected were Achraf Hakimi (who led Morocco to a fourth-place World Cup finish), Kylian Mbappe (finalist with France), Marquinhos, and Neymar (the latter not expected to join Marquinhos ahead of time but arriving in Paris in a rather pleasing and surprising development).
With a few days of training already in their bodies and a couple more still ahead, there have been discussions about the potential inclusion of Danilo, Hakimi, Marquinhos, Mbappe, and Neymar in PSG's starting lineup to face Strasbourg midweek.
Neymar, Mbappe, Marquinhos, and Hakimi are available for Christophe Galtier to use next Wednesday
We already reported a few days ago that the trio of Presnel Kimpembe, Nuno Mendes, and Danilo had been ruled out for Wednesday's game.
On Monday, just two days before the 9:00 PM kick-off of PSG's matchup with Strasbourg, L'Equipe is reporting the availability of France, Morocco, and Brazil internationals and the large chances of them playing at least a few minutes this midweek.
According to the French newspaper, "the integration of the internationals into collective training sessions has been gradual but quick." That should help them in making it to the pitch come Wednesday, according to L'Equipe.
Mbappe and Hakimi returned to Camp des Loges last Wednesday, with Neymar and Marquinhos arriving a day later on Thursday. L'Equipe says that PSG staff are "listening to the players' feelings" and that they "will not rush" any decision.
The idea is for PSG to give their players returning from Qatar "small periods of rest" expected to be "scheduled in the coming weeks" in order for those players to "compensate for the sequence of matches ahead" allowing them "to breathe a little" from this point to the Champions League's round of 16 matches against Bayern Munich.
While it is still unclear if the World Cup participants reaching the late stages of the competition will start Wednesday's game, it is nearly a given that all of them will be on the matchday squad of PSG.
It is safe to assume that all of Hakimi, Marquinhos, Neymar, and Mbappe will play at least a few minutes against Strasbourg this midweek ahead of the match against second-place RC Lens next Sunday.
With PSG facing a minnow (Chateauroux) in the Round of 64 of the French Cup on Jan. 6 after visiting Lens and no other game until Jan. 11, there will be plenty of time for the internationals to rest after the game against Lens.