MERIDA, Venezuela, Sporting Alert – Lionel Messi will miss Argentina’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying game against Venezuela at Estadio Metropolitano Mérida on Tuesday.
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Messi, who reversed his decision to retire from international football, scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory over Uruguay last week, but will not be available for the upcoming fixture.
The Barcelona forward picked up a groin injury, which has persisted, according to his club, which has not put a timetable on his return.
“The captain of the national team is suffering from inguinocrural pain,” the AFA medical report said.
“As a result, he will not participate in the next World Cup qualifying match.
Meanwhile, a statement from his Spanish club read about Messi: “Tests conducted today on first team player Leo Messi have confirmed that the discomfort in his left adductor muscle persists.
“It’s advised he lowers the burden of training in the coming days and the evolution of the injury will mark his availability to return to action.”
The Albiceleste holds a one-point lead in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying standings heading into Monday night’s contest and start strong favourites to maintain their advantage in the points standings.
But even without having to face Messi, Venezuela faces a tough order in trying to take down Argentina, as there are many other attacking stars in the lineup to make things challenging.
Missing also from Monday’s game will be Paulo Dybala, who was sent off against Uruguay for two yellow card offenses.
Ever Banega and Erik Lamela are among the players in line for a starting place against Venezuela, which has made a very slow start in qualifiers, after picking up just one point from seven games.
Meanwhile, despite heading into the clash as the firm favourite, Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero is expecting a tough encounter .
“It is always hard, and more so when they play at home,” Romero told afa.org.ar.
“I think with the coach they have found the capacity for very important games.
“Before they were a more defensive team. Today is the opposite. Playing at home, the public always pushes.
“Let’s do our job and try to get the three points to keep learning, to keep growing.”