Messi-less Argentina cruise to WCQ win in Bolivia

Messi-less Argentina cruise to WCQ win in Bolivia

Lionel Messi will be absent from Argentina’s upcoming World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old superstar from Inter Miami did not find himself in the starting lineup for the reigning World Cup champions, nor was he seated on the bench.

The Argentine Soccer Association has not provided a specific reason for the absence of their team captain. However, Argentina’s coach, Lionel Scaloni, mentioned on Sunday that Messi had left the previous match against Ecuador, citing fatigue as the reason.

Messi did not participate in the team’s training session on Monday.

The match will take place at the Hernando Siles Stadium in La Paz, which sits at an altitude of 3,000 meters. This altitude can pose additional challenges for players not accustomed to such conditions.

In their last competitive international match since winning the World Cup in December, Messi’s brilliant free-kick secured a 1-0 home victory for Argentina against Ecuador.

Messi’s absence will be disappointing for many Bolivians, including numerous local fans who eagerly welcomed him to the country on Sunday evening.

The city hall of La Paz even sponsored a sign near the match venue with the Spanish inscription “Sos grande Messi” (You’re great, Messi), a decision that drew criticism for Mayor Iván Arias.