Lionel Messi may have been wary of returning to France, the country left heartbroken after losing the World Cup final to his Argentina team, but he returned to a guard of honour at Paris Saint-Germain

The Argentina star finally touched down in France after two weeks off following the penalty shootout final victory in Qatar. 

As he arrived at training on Wednesday morning a guard of honour was set up for him before the session before he was handed a small trophy by sporting director Luis Campos, while he was applauded onto the training pitch. 

Lionel Messi picked up another trophy as he was honoured during his return to PSG training

Messi received a guard of honour onto the pitch before Luis Campos (right) gave him a trophy

Messi had been spending time at home in Buenos Aires, then Rosario, to celebrate Argentina’s World Cup triumph but is back at PSG and he wore a big smile as he embraced Neymar and his other team-mates at their training ground. 

There was no Kylian Mbappe, the man he beat in the final, or Achraf Hakimi, as they enjoy a break having been rushed back following the World Cup.

Neymar, as well as Mbappe’s younger brother, were among the players that formed part of Messi’s guard of honour. 

Kylian Mbappe (second from right) and Achraf Hakimi (second from left) were not present

Messi arrived back in France this week as he prepares to get back to business with PSG

Messi shared a warm embrace with Neymar at PSG’s training facility on Wednesday morning

Nuno Mendes (right) shakes Messi’s hand as the Argentine makes his way around team-mates

The Parisian giants made their return to domestic action against Strasbourg on December 28 – following the World Cup break – without the Argentina captain. 

His team-mates Neymar and Mbappe – who starred in the World Cup final just 10 days prior – started the fixture however Messi remained in Argentina.

It will now be down to boss Christophe Galtier to integrate him back into the side, with the Ligue 1 fixture against Angers on January 11 seen as the earliest he is expected to feature. 

Many of PSG’s players had been given Tuesday off and so it was not until Wednesday morning when Messi was reunited with a number of his team-mates. 

As well as Neymar he was seen reuniting with Nuno Mendes and Carlos Soler in the changing room. 

Carlos Soler (right) was happy to see Messi as the forward now gets integrated back in the side

Messi took full advantage of being at home to celebrate Argentina’s first World Cup success since 1986. 

Just days ago a video surfaced of him dancing at his niece’s 15th birthday party, an event where he was mobbed by his fans en route. 

Celebrations started in Buenos Aires with an open top bus parade that was eventually cut short due to safety fears for the players. 

The bus journey through the city had to be evacuated as a result of the sheer number of supporters who had come out to salute their heroes, as well as some clambering on top of bridges to then try and access the bus. 

Much of Messi’s time in Argentina was behind closed doors in Rosario, only surfacing on a couple of occasions over the Christmas and New Year period.

 Messi has had two weeks off since winning the World Cup with Argentina over in Qatar

The side’s parade had to abandoned and completed by helicopter after the bus was mobbed

As well as picking up a World Cup winner’s medal while he was away, Messi also received an ‘Illustrious Citizen’ plaque for his Qatar exploits from the Mayor of Funes, Roly Santacroce. 

In a video on social media acknowledging the honour, the star thanked fans for their support and apologised for not being so visibly public.

‘Well, we wanted to send our greetings to all the people of Funes, Rosario in general,’ he said.

‘We would like to thank you for the love you have always shown us, especially now at this time when I have just arrived back from the World Cup.

‘Forgive us as well because sometimes it is difficult to see everyone, we are with family and friends for a few days and sometimes it is complicated.’

Messi is expected to stay at PSG and sign a new one-year deal with the club until June 2024 

There is growing expectation in France, and in Spanish media, that Messi will pen a new one-year deal to stay with PSG.

According to Marca everything is pointing towards the 35-year-old putting pen to paper on a new one-year deal until June 30, 2024, with confirmation as early as this week viewed as possible.

An offer had been on the table to Messi since the start of the season from PSG, with the French club keen to keep the megastar in Paris.

Messi joined PSG in an emotional move from Barcelona in 2021. In his first season he scored 11 times in 34 games. 

World Cup winner Lionel Messi is given a guard of honour as he finally returns to PSG

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