Martino Plays Down Messi Injury Fears Ahead of Argentina vs Bolivia World Cup Qualifier

Martino Plays Down Messi Injury Fears Ahead of Argentina vs Bolivia World Cup Qualifier

Joel Reyes
September 9, 2023 at 2:25 AM
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  • Gerardo Martino played down Lionel Messi injury fears ahead of Argentina’s match against Bolivia in La Paz on Tuesday
  • Messi asked to be substituted in the 89th minute of Argentina’s 1-0 win over Ecuador in their World Cup qualifier
  • The Inter Miami coach said he doubted Messi would return to Miami quickly and not travel to Bolivia with Argentina's national team

Lionel Messi set alarm bells ringing when he asked to be replaced during Argentina’s 1-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday night.

La Albiceleste coach Lionel Scaloni didn’t ease fans’ concerns, saying that the Argentine star asked to be substituted because he “felt something.”

Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martino was asked about the matter during Friday’s press conference and gave an important update regarding Messi’s condition.

Lionel Messi, Inter Miami, Argentina, Gerardo Martino, Ecuador, Bolivia, Lionel Scaloni
Lionel Messi celebrates his goal against Ecuador; Gerardo Martino on the bench during Inter Miami's match against Nashville SC. Images: Fernando Gens/ Chris Arjoon.
Source: Getty Images

Messi to return to Miami soon?

When asked about the possibility of the Argentine star not traveling to Bolivia and returning to Miami to be with his MLS team instead, Martino said he doubted that would occur.

The 60-year-old coach explained why, saying:

"I wouldn't venture to say as of now. It is early. Today could be an important day [regarding that decision], but I don't imagine so if he has a chance to play against Bolivia."

Martino says Messi avoided serious injury

Martino also said he doesn’t think Messi suffered any kind of serious injury in Thursday’s World Cup qualifying win, per ESPN.

That’s great news for Argentina fans, who were reminded of Messi’s importance to the national team in the match against Ecuador.

Messi gave his side all three points after scoring the game’s lone goal in the 78th minute.

He netted an exquisite free kick, leaving the Ecuador goalkeeper rooted to the spot as his set-piece went over the wall and into the back of the net.

Messi equals Suarez's record

Messi's goal saw him equal Luis Suarez's record as the player with the most goals scored in South America's World Cup qualifiers.

Sports Brief reported that the former Barcelona teammates have 29 goals apiece in World Cup qualifying matches in South America.

The Inter Miami forward will have an opportunity to pull clear of Suarez this coming Tuesday against Bolivia if he is deemed fit to make the trip to La Paz.

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Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.