Argentina to rest Lionel Messi in Copa América group finale

Lionel Messi will not play in Argentina‘s final group stage match of the 2024 Copa América against Peru at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, on Saturday night, sources told ESPN Argentina.

Messi suffered an injury during Tuesday night’s match against Chile and underwent treatment on the sideline during the first half. He confirmed after the match that he felt discomfort on his right hamstring. Though Messi played through the 90 minutes, Argentina will confirm the extent of the injury after he undergoes testing on Thursday.

“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 in a mixed-zone interview after the match.

“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 manager Lionel Scaloni said after the Chile game that he expects to make several changes to the starting lineup against Peru, giving the younger players an opportunity to see time on the pitch.

The World Cup winning coach said: “We are satisfied, and we can enjoy the days, and give the youngest ones minutes. I think it’s fair to have the players that did not have minutes get onto the pitch.”

Exequiel Palacios, Guido Rodríguez, Valentin Carboni and Alejandro Garnacho have yet to play for Argentina during the tournament despite participation in the pre-Copa America friendlies against Guatemala and Ecuador. Sources added that Garnacho is one of the players most likely to get on the field against Peru.

Argentina does not depend on the result of the Peru game to qualify for the knockout round of the tournament. The victory against Chile secured La Albiceleste’s spot in the quarterfinals with two wins from two matches, as the reigning champions are all but assured of the top spot in Group A.