Argentina Manager Lionel Scaloni with Lionel Messi

Why Argentina Chose to Bench Messi Initially?

Argentina’s coach, Lionel Scaloni, had decided to bring in Messi only in the second half of the friendly match they won 1-0 against Ecuador in Chicago to keep him in peak condition for the Copa América, just like his other teammates.

Lionel Messi (Credits: Marca)

“Sometimes there’s no need to take risks, not just with him (Messi). Otamendi didn’t play either, Fideo (Di María) got his minutes, and Enzo Fernández played as much as we thought was right. It’s about taking care of them and making sure they’re in optimal condition,” Scaloni said in the post-match press conference at Soldier Field.

The boss also stated that he will take his time to announce the final squad after the friendly against Guatemala on June 14th for the Copa América.

“There are only a few days left to finalize the list, and we’ll do it based on what we think is best for the team,” he said.

“We’ll give the list after the game against Guatemala. There’s no point in announcing it before that match. It’s unfortunate for the players who will be left out, but it is what it is,” he added.

The Argentinian felt that opponents like Ecuador are good for the team to get into shape and praised his players for always staying hungry for success.

Also read: Luis Suarez will join Messi in his fifth Copa America tournament

“These guys have competition in their blood. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t, but the good thing is there’s always something to play for,” he said.

Finally, he was also pleased with Enzo Fernández getting some playing time, as he’s getting back in shape after a groin problem.

Enzo Fernández (Credits: Sky Sports)

“We’re happy he got some minutes. Surgery is always risky. In his case, we’re glad he’s been training. Of course, he’s still a bit short on match fitness,” he said to wrap up.

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