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ARGENTINA

Is Lionel Messi going to play for Argentina despite Inter Miami absence?

The Albiceleste captain was lifting the biggest prize in the game less than a year ago, and the bond with his country runs deep.

Messi sí viajará con Argentina para eliminatorias de Conmebol
JUAN MABROMATAAFP

Huge news for the reigning world champions. It appears, according to TyC Sports, that Lionel Messi has given his ‘OK’ to be eligible for the upcoming FIFA break with the double header of South American Qualifiers, which pit Argentina against Paraguay and Peru.

Messi gives green light to Argentina

The Argentine star has been dealing with discomfort for almost a month now, ever since Lionel Scaloni decided to give him a break in the second match against Bolivia in the last international break. Following this, the 36-year-old forward had an unsuccessful attempt to return fully in the Inter Miami match against Atlanta United, where he was substituted after 36 minutes of play.

At this stage of the season, with Inter Miami virtually out of contention in the MLS, reports from both Argentina and Florida suggest that Messi could get some playing time in the game against Cincinnati, not the earlier one against Chicago, just before he joins the Argentine delegation at the training ground named after the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

The match between Miami and Cincinnati is scheduled for 7 October. If all goes as planned, Leo will have just one day of rest before heading to Buenos Aires with the Albiceleste.

¿Beneficio o preocupación para Inter Miami con Messi?
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The Albiceleste coaching staff opted to protect and take care of Messi in the second qualifying match against Bolivia.JUAN MABROMATAAFP

Comings and comings in Argentina

The three-time world champion nation faces a challenging schedule ahead. On 12 October, Argentina will have a predictably tough match against Paraguay at the Monumental Stadium. Five days later the team will travel to Lima to face Peru.

Amidst the planning, the appearance of a number of players remains uncertain, either due to their recent discomfort or because they have recently recovered and may lack match fitness. On the plus side, the likes of Dybala and Acuña appear to have recovered from their injuries, as has Lo Celso, who returns after his absence in the September matches.

Messi and De Paul are both expected to be called up despite lingering knocks in recent weeks that caused them to miss some games with their respective clubs. The biggest question mark at this point is Ángel di María, who had to be substituted in the Champions League clash against Inter on Tuesday after feeling pain in his hamstring.