Buenos Aires (AFP) – Argentina superstar Lionel Messi is set to make his return from injury in a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay, his coach Lionel Scaloni said on Thursday.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner missed the last two matches with his club Paris Saint-Germain due to knee and hamstring issues.
He had been expected to miss Friday’s crunch clash against neighbors Uruguay but now appears to be fit to play.
“Messi is in good shape and if that continues he will play,” said Scaloni.
“In principle, he’s available. If he’s in good shape you already know what I think about his game and his status in the team.
“We will take the final decision this (Thursday) afternoon.”
Argentina were due to train at their base on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on Thursday afternoon before traveling to Uruguay.
When Messi linked up with his national team on Monday he was training apart but he joined his teammates on Wednesday.
“It’s easy to live with Messi, who always wants to play, because I also want him to always play,” said Scaloni.
Argentina sit second in the single South American World Cup qualifying table, six points behind runaway leaders Brazil but nine points ahead of Uruguay, the highest placed side outside the automatic qualification sports.
Scaloni’s team are on a 25-match unbeaten run and lifted the Copa America in July, beating Brazil 1-0 in the final at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.
It was Messi’s first ever major title with his country having lost the 2014 World Cup final and three Copa America finals prior to that.
Following their trip to Uruguay, Argentina will host Brazil in San Juan on Tuesday.
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family