Messi remains a major doubt as Argentina prepare side to face Chile without their captain

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“I’m fucked, it hurts a lot. If it remains like this, I won’t play against Chile but we’ll see.”

Huge doubts remain over whether Argentina captain Lionel Messi will be fit for the Copa América opener against Chile on Monday after the Barcelona star admitted he is still in considerable pain following the back injury he suffered against Honduras last week.

Messi was in court on Thursday in Barcelona to speak at his tax evasion case and although the 28-year-old will now travel to the United States to meet up with the squad his place in Gerardo Martino’s starting eleven is far from certain.

In his absence, Argentina are preparing for the game against Chile in Santa Clara with Nicolás Gaitán in the starting eleven.

The probable team will be: Sergio Romero; Gabriel Mercado, Nicolás Otamendi, Ramiro Funes Mori, Marcos Rojo; Augusto Fernández, Javier Mascherano, Éver Banega, Nicolás Gaitán, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel Di María.

There are few surprises from the side with Atlético Madrid’s Augusto Fernández coming in for the injured Lucas Biglia alongside Javier Macherano.

Gonzalo Higuaín gets the nod over Sergio Agüero and with Ezequiel Lavezzi also injured, Nicolás Gaitán will get the opportunity to start in place of Messi in attack.

Any decision over Messi is likely to be left until the last minute and the medical team will assess him once he arrives at the training camp. As much as Argentina will want to play the five time Ballon d’Or winner, they must not rush him back to action.

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