Messi’s minutes to be managed in pre-Copa games – The Global Tofay

Messi's minutes to be managed in pre-Copa games - The Global Tofay Global Today

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni suggested Lionel Messi will likely be a substitute in Sunday’s friendly against Ecuador at Soldier Field in Chicago to ensure the player remains healthy for Copa América.

“People will be able to see Messi tomorrow. He will surely play for a while. We are going to think carefully about the minutes that each one will have to be healthy for the debut,” Scaloni said in his pre-match news conference.

“Messi I imagine he will play, I don’t know if the whole game, 30 minutes, 60, whatever. But people are going for it to be able to see what is the most important thing.”

The Inter Miami star last played for Argentina as a substitute on Oct. 12, 2023, coming off the bench in the 1-0 victory against Paraguay at the Estadio Monumental in Argentina.

Without Messi, Scaloni could opt to kick off with Lautaro Martínez and Julián Álvarez leading the attack. However, the manager maintained that no starting 11 has been determined yet as he continues to evaluate players.

“I still don’t have the team, especially because I have to evaluate the six changes we have to make,” said Scaloni, who guided Argentina to victory in the 2021 Copa América and 2022 World Cup.

But it’s likely that fans attending the friendly on Sunday will not see Real Betis defender Germán Pezzella on the field, after the coach confirmed his fitness will continue to be assessed ahead of Argentina opening the Copa América against Canada on June 20.

“German Pezzella couldn’t train this week. On Monday, we will evaluate his situation.”

Argentina has yet to announce its final 26-player roster for the Copa América, waiting until these friendlies to make the final cuts.

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