Lionel Messi is set to represent his country once again…
The 36-year-old Argentine soccer star has been picked for Argentina’s next two World Cup qualifying matches despite a leg injury that had kept him off the field for two weeks with MLS club team Inter Miami CF.
The Argentina captain also missed his national team’s 3-0 win at Bolívia on September 12.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Messi’s previous appearance was at his team’s match against Toronto on September 20, during which he was substituted at halftime because of the recurrence of a leg injury that initially resurfaced in a 1-0 win against Ecuador on September 7.
Argentina, who along with Brazil lead the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying standings with two wins from two matches, will face Paraguay in Buenos Aires on October 12 and then visit Peru five days later.
Messi has 11 goals in 12 matches with Inter Miami. The team is 8-1-4 when he plays; seven of those matches were on the team’s run to winning its first trophy by claiming the Leagues Cup championship, and another was in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal. Inter Miami is 1-3-2 in its six matches without Messi since he joined the club.
“Barcelona missed him, and the Argentine team missed him,” Miami coach Gerardo Martino said about Messi after the loss to Chicago. “Of course we’re going to miss the best player in the world.”
Full Argentina Squad:
Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa), Franco Armani (River Plate), Juan Musso (Atalanta)
Defenders: Walter Benítez (PSV Eindhoven), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Gonzalo Montiel (Nottingham Forest), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), Germán Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Lucas Martínez Quarta (Fiorentina), Nicolás Otamendi (Benfica), Marco Pellegrino (AC Milan), Marcos Acuña (Sporting Lisbon), Nicolás Tagliafico (Lyon), Lucas Esquivel (Athletico Paranaense)
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Roma), Guido Rodríguez (Real Betis), Enzo Fernández (Chelsea), Rodrigo de Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Carlos Alcaraz (Southampton), Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Alexis Mac Allister (Liverpool), Thiago Almada (Atlanta United), Bruno Zapelli (Athletico Paranaense)
Forwards: Paulo Dybala (Roma), Lionel Messi (Inter Miami), Julián Alvarez (Manchester City), Lautaro Martínez (Inter Milan), Facundo Farías (Inter Miami), Lucas Beltrán (Fiorentina), Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United), Nico González (Fiorentina), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla)