Messi sits out Argentina's World Cup qualifying match at Bolivia
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Lionel Messi will sit out Argentina’s World Cup qualifying match in Bolivia on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old Inter Miami star was neither in the starting lineup for the World Cup champions nor on the bench.
The Argentinian soccer association has not specified why its team captain is out, though Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said Sunday that Messi had left the match against Ecuador last week complaining of fatigue.
Messi did not train with the team on Monday.
The match at the Hernando Siles Stadium will be played at La Paz’ altitude of 3,000 meters, which puts extra stress on players who are not used to those conditions.
Messi scored from a free kick to give Argentina a 1-0 home win against Ecuador in its first competitive international since winning the World Cup last December.
Messi's absence will disappoint many Bolivians, including hundreds of local fans who turned out to welcome him to the country Sunday evening.
La Paz’ city hall sponsored a sign close to the venue of the match with the Spanish inscription “Sos grande Messi” (You’re great, Messi). The decision brought criticism to mayor Iván Arias.
AP Sports Writer Mauricio Savarese contributed to this report from Sao Paulo.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer