Lionel Messi is set to accompany Argentina’s squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifier against Bolivia in La Paz, according to Albiceleste manager Lionel Scaloni, who confirmed this on Sunday. Messi had engaged in separate training sessions from his teammates following his late withdrawal during Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Ecuador in their first South American zone qualifier last Thursday.
While tests conducted on Friday revealed that Inter Miami forward Messi was not dealing with any injury, concerns about his recent strenuous schedule have prompted Scaloni to contemplate resting the 36-year-old superstar. Scaloni stated in a press conference, “He is going to travel. Today he trained apart [from the main squad]. There are still two days left until the game. We will make the decision tomorrow or on Tuesday.”
Messi has been actively involved in 12 matches within a span of 48 days, with little respite since his transfer to Inter Miami in mid-July. The forthcoming match against Bolivia on Tuesday is expected to be physically demanding, given the high altitude of La Paz’s Hernando Siles stadium, situated at an elevation exceeding 3,600 meters above sea level.
Apart from the potential absence of Messi and defender Cristian Romero, who sustained a minor right leg injury against Ecuador, Scaloni expressed his intention to make only minimal changes to Argentina’s starting lineup. “We all know how difficult it is to play at that altitude, but the team will basically be the same as it was against Ecuador,” he emphasized.