Will Lionel Messi play for Argentina against Uruguay in the World Cup 2026 qualifier?
The 8-time Ballon d’Or winner has had his fair share of recent injury problems, so will he play for Argentina against Uruguay later in the week?
Lionel Scaloni’s World Champion side will go up against Marcelo Bielsa’s Uruguay at Boca Junior’s La Bombonera stadium on November 16 with kick off at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT in the race to secure qualification to the 2026 World Cup.
Lionel Messi’ fitness has been a concern for what feels like forever, with the player featuring on an irregular basis for both Inter Miami and Argentina ever since injury ruled him out action. Now, however, it seems like the player is back to full fitness and looks set to feature against his South American opponents.
The Inter Miami forward sustained an injury while on international duty and came back to Inter Miami to be assessed, where it was determined that he was unable to feature for the club in the MLS end of season run-in, which saw Tata Martino’s side agonisingly miss out on playoff qualification.
‘If he is fit, he will always play’
The physical issues were mysterious, with information surrounding the injury being kept under lock and key and passed on via whispers in empty corridors in the black of the night. The player was used sparingly in the final stages of the season, playing just 90 minutes once in the last competitive 10 games of the campaign, with his recovery for these very fixtures, against Uruguay and Brazil, the priority.
Messi managed 90 minutes against Charlotte in Inter Miami’s final game of the season, as well as featuring for the full game in the Noche d’Or, a tribute match against NYCFC in honour of the player winning his 8th Ballon d’Or.
Ahead of the tie against Uruguay, manager Lionel Scaloni was asked about Messi’s fitness, saying “Messi is ready to play” before adding that “if he is fit, he will always play”.
“He’s come looking good”, Scaloni commented, “away from the fact that he played just once in 25 days, he’s been training as normal, he’s fit and well”.
Messi’s Argentina to face two tough tests
Messi and Argentina have two huge games coming up, with Uruguay not the only challenge they will face. The Albiceleste also take on Brazil in this international break on on Tuesday 21 November 2023 with kick-off at 7.30 p.m. ET / 4.30 p.m. PT., a side that contains Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr, as well as future Real Madrid star, Endrick.