Buenos Aires, Argentina| XINHUA | Lionel Messi is available for both of Argentina’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Peru despite a recent ankle problem, head coach Lionel Scaloni said on Wednesday.
Earlier, the Barcelona forward trained freely with Argentina’s squad ahead of the team’s clash with Paraguay at La Bombonera in Buenos Aires on Thursday.
“It’s known at Barcelona that he has been playing for a while with discomfort in his ankle but it does not prevent him from playing,” Scaloni said during a virtual press conference.
On Saturday, Messi came off the bench at half-time to score two goals and set up another in Barcelona’s 5-2 home victory over Real Betis in La Liga.
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman said the forward did not start because he was “not fresh”, without providing details of any physical problem.
Following Thursday’s match, the Argentina squad will travel to Lima for another qualifier against Peru next Tuesday.
The Albiceleste are currently second in the 10-team South American zone qualifying standings, behind Brazil on goal difference.