Report: Lionel Messi out for Argentina’s Copa America opener vs. Chile
The 2016 Copa America Centenario was originally billed as a convergence of some of the world’s greatest footballing superstars on the United States.
Then, Neymar was left off of Brazil’s roster in favor of featuring at this summer’s Olympic games in his native Brazil. Then, Luis Suarez injured himself two weeks before the start of the tournament and will likely miss the entire group stage. Then, Lionel Messi was injured barely a week before Argentina’s tournament-opening game against Chile.
Now, according to reports, the last-standing member of Barcelona’s lethal attacking trio is set to miss Monday night’s game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., either through the lower-back/hip injury suffered in a friendly against Honduras, or his tax fraud trial currently ongoing back in Spain.
Messi testified in the trial on Thursday and met up with his Argentina teammates on Friday. According to a story from the AP, “Messi has trained lightly and separately from the group because of the injury.”
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Argentina manager Gerardo Martino has said that, in the event that Messi is unable to play on Monday, he hopes to make no changes to the overall tactics as the sides face off in a rematch of last summer’s Copa America final, won by the Chileans in a penalty kick shootout. “Setting aside the difference between Messi and every other player, our intent is not to change our style of play,” Martino said.