WC Qualifiers: Lionel Messi cleared to play in Brazil-Argentina clash; Neymar to miss out
- Lionel Messi will play in San Juan against Brazil
- Neymar will miss the clash due to left thigh pains
- Leonardo Paredes is still recovering from an injury
Argentina were been given a major boost as Lionel Messi was cleared to play ahead of their highly-speculated clash against their age-old rivals Brazil on Tuesday. Messi, who has been bothered by a knee injury, will play in San Juan in a match that could earn the team a spot in next year’s World Cup, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said Monday.
Meanwhile, Brazil will be handicapped on the other hand as their star forward Neymar will miss the clash due to left thigh pains. Earlier on Monday, the Brazilian Football Confederation said in a statement that Neymar “reported being insecure" about the possible injury, the Associated Press reported.
"Because there's not enough time to perform more exams, the coaching staff decided to spare the player, who will not travel with the squad," the statement said.
Meanwhile, Neymar's club teammate and national team rival, Messi, Messi, played only 15 minutes in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Uruguay on Friday. He also missed two Paris Saint-Germain matches because of the injury.
Talking about the former Barcelona forward's injury, Argentine manager Lionel Scaloni said, "A few days ago he (Messi) was physically fit and at the end we decided that the best would be for him to play for a few minutes so he starts getting that good feeling."
"For tomorrow (Tuesday), it is confirmed that he will play. We hope he finds himself in a good place."
However, for Scaloni’s men, their primary concern will be in the midfield where Leonardo Paredes is still recovering from an injury and could once again be replaced by Guido Rodríguez.
Besides Neymar, Brazil will be missing the suspended Casemiro, who could be replaced by Fabinho. Coach Tite also expects to test other players after beating Colombia 1-0, possibly using Matheus Cunha upfront instead of Gabriel Jesus.
With inputs from the Associated Press