BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 12°C Saturday 8 May 2021
Advertisement

Beleaguered Messi arrives in California as he bids to end Copa America hoodoo

The 28-year-old playmaker later took to the field during training near Argentina’s San Jose base.

Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi, left, leaves the court on Thursday.
Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi, left, leaves the court on Thursday.

LIONEL MESSI TOUCHED down in California on Friday as Argentina prepared for the possibility that the injured Barcelona superstar may not be fit for next week’s Copa America Centenario showdown with Chile.

Messi arrived in the early hours from Barcelona, where on Thursday he had appeared in court to give evidence in his tax fraud trial which has also embroiled his father.

Messi, who suffered a back injury in a friendly victory against Honduras last week, is uncertain to be fit for Monday’s crucial Group D game against Chile at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

The 28-year-old playmaker later took to the field during training near Argentina’s San Jose base. Messi trained separately from the rest of the squad along with another injured player Lucas Biglia.

Meanwhile team-mates Augusto Fernandez and Nahuel Guzman admitted Friday that Argentina were facing up to the possibility of Messi’s absence against the Chileans.

It is logical that being the best player in the world it is clear that we all want him to be fit,” Atletico Madrid midfielder Fernandez said, adding that he was confident the squad would cope against the Chileans if Messi was ruled out.

“When you have moments of adversity that’s when the team has to step up,” Fernandez told a press conference.

Guzman said he hoped Messi could recover, but admitted he had been surprised by the Argentina captain’s decision to make a grueling round trip from Spain just to appear in the Honduras friendly.

“It is shocking at some point because it is the captain, it’s Leo. He came to play this game, perhaps without much obligation or necessity, and he ends up getting injured,” the Mexico-based reserve goalkeeper said.

Monday’s game is likely to determine the winner of Group D, with Argentina facing further games against Panama and Bolivia.

Messi is bidding to end Argentina’s 23-year trophy drought after a series of agonizing near-misses in recent years which saw the Albiceleste beaten in both the 2014 World Cup final and 2015 Copa America final.

© – AFP, 2016

The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

Messi compared to ‘crime boss’ at tax fraud trial>

Colombia shatter American dream in Copa opener>

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (2)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel