Lionel Messi doesn't play for Argentina vs. Peru: Why World Cup winner was rested in Copa America clash


As Argentina defeated Peru 2-0 to complete a perfect group stage at Copa America, there was a familiar name missing in Lionel Messi. The Argentine number 10 was a doubt for the match with a hamstring injury but Lionel Scaloni was already planning heavy rotation due to already advancing to the knockout stages with Messi being placed on the bench. 

Following Argentina’s victory over Chile, Messi said that he felt an issue with his hamstring in the first half but received treatment during the break to continue on in the match. With only one assist in two matches started, Messi has had a slower-than-expected start to Copa America but that hasn’t slowed La Albiceleste down from winning their opening two matches while not conceding a goal.

“I felt some discomfort in my right hamstring at the beginning of the game. It was tight. It wasn’t as loose as it should’ve been. But I was able to finish the game. We’ll see how it goes,” Messi said following the match on Tuesday. “In the first play, my adductor got hard. I didn’t feel a puncture or a tear, but I did find it difficult to move freely.”

Argentina were able to pull out a victory as Lautaro Martinez scored a brace to net his third and fourth goas of the tournament. If Messi misses more time, the Inter man will be critical to Argentina’s advancing in Copa America. There is plenty of attacking depth that can drive the team to victory and Martinez and Julian Alvarez scoring and creating will be what can drive them forward in future games.

When will Messi return to the starting lineup?

It’s tough to judge when Messi will return to the pitch for Argentina as a starter. He’s currently listed as day-to-day but it is a positive that he was able to play after receiving treatment against Chile and equally positive he made the bench for this Peru clash. Depending on who Argentina gets in the quarterfinals of Copa America, it may be in Argentina’s best interest to rest Messi again but that’s also when leaving him out becomes a risk. Argentina do have plenty of depth to win matches without Messi but they would like to have their talisman back on the pitch as soon as possible.   

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