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Why isn’t Lionel Messi playing for Argentina against Ecuador today?

The Inter Miami forward is part of Argentina’s squad for the games prior to the Copa América.

The Inter Miami forward is part of Argentina’s squad for the games prior to the Copa América.

After an important week of training at the Florida Blue Training Center in Fort Lauderdale, Lionel Messi and the Argentina National Team will face Ecuador this Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Ahead of the hotly anticipated tie, the latest reports indicate that La Albiceleste will start with a refreshed XI and Messi will begin the game on the bench.

According to a report from journalist Gastón Edul for TyC Sports, Lionel Scaloni confirmed that the Argentina captain will start on the bench before coming on at the break to play the entire second period. As a result of this tactical switch, the coach has opted for a duo of Lautaro Martínez and Julián Álvarez up front, with the idea that the City forward can drop into those spaces typically occupied by Messi.

Who will play for Argentina against Ecuador?

Scaloni’s aim is to carefully hand out minutes to all his players so that they arrive at the tournament in prime physical shape for the Copa América 2024. However, despite the worry of not seeing the former Barça man, manager Lionel Scaloni was quick to cool the heat: “People are going to be able to see Messi tomorrow. He will play for a while for sure. We are going to think about the minutes of each player to be good for the debut [in the Copa América]”.

Here’s a look at Argentina’s confirmed team to take on Ecuador on Sunday evening at Soldier Field, Chicago.

Messi deja en el aire su participación en el Mundial 2026
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Messi is not expected to play the full 90 minutes against Ecuador.MARCO BELLOAFP

The amazing run of form that Argentina’s National Team is experiencing after winning the Copa América 2021, the Finalissima against Italy and the Qatar 2022 World Cup has lead many to think that the competition between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF is the perfect opportunity for Scaloni’s project to continue growing at an important pace ahead of the 2026 World Cup.

The first friendly match will be against Ecuador this Sunday (7PM ET) while the second game will be against Luis Fernando Tena’s Guatemala on Friday, June 14, less than a week before the Copa América 2024 kicks off against a Canada side led by Jesse Marsch. The rest of the group stage will see them face Chile on June 25 (MetLife Stadium) and Peru on June 29 (Hard Rock Stadium).