Messi on Why He Asked to Be Substituted for Argentina Vs. Ecuador

Messi on Why He Asked to Be Substituted for Argentina Vs. Ecuador

Elijah Odetokun
updated at September 9, 2023 at 1:42 PM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
  • Lionel Messi returned to the international scene for Argentina in the World Cup qualifier
  • He scored the only goal from a free kick to secure three points for the world champions
  • The superstar was substituted in the closing stages of the game and has revealed why

Has Lionel Messi played too many games recently, or is age catching up with him?

Messi started against Ecuador as Argentina began their road to the 2026 World Cup in hopes of defending the world title in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

The world champions endured a difficult evening against their fellow South Americans and it was their captain who broke the deadlock in the 78th minute and won all three points.

Lionel Messi, Argentina, Ecuador, El Monumental.
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a freekick against Ecuador. Photo by Marcelo Endelli.
Source: Getty Images

As reported by Republic World, the goal brought him level on 29 goals with former Barcelona teammate, Luis Suarez for most goals in the CONMEBOL qualifying series.

Why Messi was substituted vs Ecuador

Barely 10 minutes after he scored what was the winning goal, he left the pitch to be replaced by Exequiel Palacios.

He passed the captain's armband to Angel Di Maria and received a standing ovation from the El Monumental crowd, as spotted by Telemundo Deportes.

His substitution with minutes left to the end of the game worried fans but head coach, Lionel Scaloni allayed any fears.

"Messi asked for a substitution, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken him off. Later we will evaluate what he has," Scaloni said.

The 36-year-old later revealed why he asked his manager to be removed and it further raised the fears of the fans:

"I came out because I was a bit tired. It's probably not the last time that will happen [being substituted in the last minutes of a game]. It's all good, I’m fine," he was translated as saying.

Messi humiliates Caicedo with sublime skill

Sports Brief also reported on Messi humiliating Chelsea's Moises Caicedo with a brilliant piece of skill, leaving the Ecuadorian master tackler on the grass during Argentina's 1-0 win.

The £115m British record star is still settling in at Stamford Bridge and the international break was a breather for the Blues, only for their marquee signing to get on Messi's bad side.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.