Weeks after Gerardo Martino dismissed reports of Messi getting tired with the rigorous schedule, the Argentine hinted at fatigue setting in during Argentina’s match against Ecuador. Messi asked to be replaced after scoring the only goal of the match, spreading concerns about an injury among the fans.
Messi said this during his post-match interview after the match against Ecuador: “I came out because I was a bit tired”. It’s probably not the last time it will happen, It’s all good, I am fine”. This might imply that the Argentinian might feature sparingly in the upcoming matches.
The number ten claimed that it was just a precautionary measure. The player also suggested he might come off during the last minutes of the matches in the near future again to manage his workload. Surely, fans’ heartbeats would have skipped a bit, seeing their star player substituted during the final minutes of the game. They must have wondered whether there was any other reason behind it.
❗️Leo Messi: “I came out because I was a bit tired. It’s probably not the last time that will happen [come out during the last minutes of the game]. It’s all good, I’m fine.” pic.twitter.com/LcY2VR8hPm
— All About Argentina 🛎🇦🇷 (@AlbicelesteTalk) September 8, 2023
The match started off as a cagey affair, with both sides looking to get hold of the midfield. Although there were attempts to break into the opposition’s box, the final ball was lacking. By looking at this tie, fans would have expected Argentina to trump the game, which was not the case. When it comes to the last four meetings between both sides prior to this match, Argentina has won all of those matches. Messi’s side even leads on the goal tally 11-2.
The game was heading towards the ninety-minute mark without any of the teams troubling the scorecard. Lionel Messi set himself up for a free-kick situation in the seventy-eighth minute, just outside the opponent’s box. The moment was poised, with the 36-year-old expected to deliver from the spot for Argentina. The player didn’t disappoint in making the opportunity count and delivered once again on the big stage.
Will Lionel Messi be available for Argentina’s next match against Bolivia?
Argentina will take on Bolivia and Paraguay next in the months of September and October respectively in their World Cup Qualifiers campaign. With the former Barcelona player being substituted towards the end of the game, certain eyebrows were raised. It would have been easy to think of it as something related to Messi’s early injuries. Doubts started to be placed on his availability for the next match against Bolivia.
However, according to the reports, the Argentinian is fit to take part in the upcoming World Cup Qualifier against Bolivia. The number ten would be available for the selection. In the second half of August, the 36-year-old tweaked his right ankle during a practice season with his Major League Soccer (MLS) side, Inter Miami.
It remains to be seen whether Argentina’s manager, Lionel Scaloni, substitutes his talisman again during the final minutes of the game when his team takes on Bolivia. However, a lot of it could depend on the match situation.