is Lionel Messi Playing Today for Argentina against Bolivia?

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Lionel Messi missed Argentina’s final training session on the eve of their World Cup qualifier in Bolivia.

The 36-year-old Inter Miami striker left Argentina’s game against Ecuador late last week, complaining of fatigue, which could affect coach Lionel Scaloni’s selection for Tuesday’s game in demanding conditions at 3,000 meters in La Paz.

Scaloni said at a press conference on Sunday that he could leave a decision on Messi until a few hours before the game.

During Monday’s training session, Messi sat on a chair near Scaloni and watched his teammates train. He spoke to the coach as the other players struggled to adjust to the altitude and faster ball speed, a trait that makes it so difficult for the visitors to win in Bolivia. Scaloni did not indicate what he wanted in training. to do unless Messi plays at the Hernando Siles Stadium against a team that beat Brazil 5-1 in their opening South American qualifier last week.

Messi scored from a free kick to give Argentina a 1-0 home win against Ecuador in their first official international match since winning the World Cup last December.

The 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada is expanding to a 48-team format. The top six teams in South America will secure a direct spot. The team from seventh place will compete in the intercontinental play-off for further advancement to the finals.

If Messi doesn’t play on Tuesday, it will disappoint many Bolivians, including the hundreds of local fans who welcomed him to the country on Sunday night.

La Paz City Hall sponsored a sign near the match venue with the Spanish words “Sos grande Messi” (You are great, Messi). The decision brought criticism to Mayor Iván Arias.

Messi never scored in La Paz but has eight goals in 11 games against Bolivia. If the star forward plays and scores on Tuesday, he will surpass Uruguay’s Luis Suárez as the all-time top scorer in World Cup qualifying in South America.

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