Lionel Messi is back with the Argentina squad as they gear up for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers clash against Paraguay on Friday.
Lionel Scaloni decided to name Messi in the squad for Friday’s fixture as well as the CONMEBOL qualifiers against Peru later, despite a muscle injury that has kept the Argentina captain sidelined for over a month.
Messi was forced to be subbed off in the 89th minute after scoring the eventual winner in Argentina’s 1-0 win against Ecuador in the World Cup qualifier match on September 8. The nature of that injury remains unknown.
It is unclear whether Messi will start for Argentina in these two matches, given that he has played just 37 minutes for his Major League Soccer side Inter Miami across their past five fixtures since the previous international break.
The 36-year-old was last seen in the match against Eastern Conference leader Cincinnati, where his side lost and missed out on a spot in the playoff. He was subbed in the 55th minute but failed to capitalise on a few chances that proved too costly in the end.
Additionally, Argentina will not count on Angel Di Maria, who is recovering from injury. Nico González is likely to be the veteran’s replacement once more.
Goalkeepers: Juan Musso (Atalanta), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Walter Benitez (PSV) and Franco Armani (River Plate)
Defenders: Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Betis), Gonzalo Montiel (Nottingham Forest), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Nicolas Tagliafico (Olympique Lyon), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica) and Lucas Esquivel (Athletico Paranaense), Lucas Martinez Quarta (Fiorentina), Marco Pellegrino (Milan) and Marcos Acuna (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Roma), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico de Madrid), Guido Rodriguez (Betis), Facundo Buonanotte (Brighton), Enzo Fernandez (Chelsea), Alexis Mac Allister (Liverpool), Exequiel Palacios (Bayern Leverkusen), Bruno Zapelli (Athletico Paranaense) and Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham)
Forward: Lucas Beltran (Fiorentina), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City), Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United), Lionel Messi (Inter Miami), Carlos Alcaraz (Southampton, England), Thiago Almada (Atlanta United), Paulo Dybala (Roma), Facundo Farias (Inter Miami) and Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla)