Lionel Messi to be assessed ahead of Argentina's Copa America quarter-final vs Ecuador

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni says captain Lionel Messi will be further assessed in training later today to determine his availability for their Copa America quarter-final against Ecuador.

Messi, 37, returned to Argentina training with his team-mates on Tuesday despite his fitness remaining uncertain.

The Inter Miami star missed Argentina’s final group stage match — a 2-0 victory over Peru on Saturday — due to thigh discomfort reported after the previous game against Chile last Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the Ecuador encounter, although Scaloni remained coy on Messi’s potential chances of featuring in the game, he stated Argentina will “do our best for him to play”.

He said: “We’re going to wait a bit more. We have another training session and more time to evaluate is best. We feel good about it though. We’ll make a decision based on what we see today.



Watching Messi (not) play for Argentina against Peru in Miami

“I haven’t spoken to Leo about his situation yet. I’ll do that with him today. It’s only fair for him to take his time and train as much as he can. We’ll make that decision then. I haven’t spoken to Leo about his status so I can’t make a decision until tomorrow.”

Scaloni was also asked if the inclusion of both Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez would depend on Messi’s availability.

“Leo has played with both Julian (Alvarez) and Lautaro (Martinez). Nothing changes,” Scaloni said. “Things change when Leo doesn’t play. That’s the reality. Everyone knows that. We’ll do our best for him to play. If he can’t, we’ll find the best solutions for the team. We have to go game by game. The team will adjust based on the opponent.”

Messi missed six Major League Soccer (MLS) games with Inter Miami due to muscle injuries and also skipped two friendlies as club and country manage his playing time.

Despite his absence, Argentina boasts a perfect record so far in Copa America, defeating Canada, Chile and Peru without conceding a goal.

(Carlos Sipan/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

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