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ARGENTINA

Argentina thinking of releasing Messi ahead of Bolivia game

Argentina prepares its second match in the South American qualifiers against Bolivia with a question mark relating to Messi traveling to the altitude of La Paz or not.

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LUIS ROBAYOAFP

Argentina began its journey to the 2026 World Cup on the right foot. In a tight game against Ecuador, Lionel Messi was on hand to bag the winner late in the game that saw the current holders secure three points in the opening game of the qualifying stage.

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi celebrates
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Argentina's forward Lionel Messi celebrates JUAN MABROMATAAFP

In a very physical and exhausting match for the Argentines, the Albiceleste captain suffered much more than expected and played for 89 minutes of the game. According to reports from Argentina, head coach Lionel Scaloni is looking at the option of releasing Leo Messi for the second match as the albiceleste travel to the altitude of La Paz to face Bolivia.

It was Messi himself who asked to be subbed at the end of the Ecuador match at the Estadio Mâs Monumental. The team led by Lionel Scaloni returned to training on Friday morning to carry out regenerative work, with Saturday designated as a day off for the squad.

As of today, Messi remains at the Ezeiza complex waiting to make the decision whether he will travel with the delegation from Argentina to La Paz. After tests were carried out on the Inter Miami striker, it was ruled out that the captain had developed a muscle problem with the diagnostics presenting a picture of accumulated fatigue from 12 games in 48 days.

Argentina's forward Lionel Messi celebrates
Full screen
Argentina's forward Lionel Messi celebrates JUAN MABROMATAAFP

Rotations against Bolivia

After the match against Ecuador, the Albiceleste technical team are contemplating making rotations and making room for the younger players for the Bolivia test. In the meantime, Scaloni will decide whether to release Messi so that he can return to Miami to have a few days of rest. After just over a month since his arrival in the United States, the Argentine has played in eleven MLS and Leagues Cup games in the energy zapping heat of the US summer.