Argentina are anxiously awaiting news on Lionel Messi’s fitness as they prepare for a crucial Copa America quarter-final against Ecuador. Messi, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner, is nursing a thigh injury that saw him miss the final group stage match against Peru. With Argentina already assured of progression and boasting a strong squad, coach Lionel Scaloni decided not to risk their star player.

The Albiceleste are now preparing for their quarter-final at the NRG Stadium in Houston. The big question on everyone’s mind is whether their captain and talisman is ready to play. Messi will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness for the big match.

Scaloni spoke to the media about Messi’s condition and said: “We are going to wait a little longer. We have another training session and more time to evaluate what is best. However, we feel good about it. We will make a decision based on what we see. I have not spoken to Leo about his situation yet. It is only fair that he takes his time and trains as much as possible. Then we will make that decision. I have not spoken to Leo about his condition yet, so I cannot make a decision.”

Impact of Lionel Messi’s fitness on Argentina’s momentum

Scaloni also discussed how Messi’s potential absence could affect the team, particularly forwards Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez, who have played well together. “Leo has played with both Julian and Lautaro. Nothing changes. Things change when Leo doesn’t play. That’s the reality. Everyone knows that. We will do our best to make him play. If he can’t, we will find the best solutions for the team. We have to take it game by game. The team will adapt based on the opponent,” Scaloni said.

Messi has already missed six games for Inter Miami this season with muscle problems, which also forced him to miss two friendlies with Argentina in March. At 37, these recurring injuries are a concern, but Messi’s influence and presence on the pitch remain unmatched. While he has yet to score in the 2024 Copa America, his record of 108 international goals in 184 games speaks volumes about his ability and importance to the team.

The team has shown that they can perform without Messi, but his leadership and skills make a big difference. Fans and teammates will be hoping that he can recover in time to play against Ecuador. His presence could be the key to Argentina’s success in the tournament.

With the match against Ecuador approaching, all eyes will be on the final training sessions and Messi’s progress. The decision on whether he plays will be made based on his ability to train and how he feels in the lead-up to the match. Argentina are focused on playing their best, with or without their legendary captain, and advancing in the Copa America.

In addition to Messi’s injury, the team’s dynamics will be tested. Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez have formed a strong partnership up front and their chemistry is clearly visible. If Messi is unable to play, Scaloni will have to find the best way to maintain the team’s attacking threat. This could mean leaning more on other key players or changing the formation to suit the talent available.

Argentina’s squad has a significant advantage in depth, with players like Rodrigo De Paul, Giovani Lo Celso and Angel Di Maria having the experience and ability to step up at crucial moments. Scaloni’s tactical flexibility and the team’s resilience will be crucial in dealing with the challenges that Messi’s potential absence will bring.

Argentina’s Copa America hopes are heavily dependent on Messi’s fitness. While his absence would be a major setback, the team is prepared to adapt and find ways to succeed. The next few days will be crucial in determining whether Messi can lead his team on the pitch or support them from the sidelines as they strive for glory.