Agüero ruled out of World Cup qualifiers and now Messi & Pastore doubtful

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-WEST HAM

Argentina could be without a couple of key figures for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Venezuela with the news that Sergio Agüero has not travelled due to injury and Lionel Messi is undergoing tests in Barcelona after complaining of discomfort in his thigh following Barcelona’s victory over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

At this stage Messi’s delay is just precautionary given that the LaLiga match in which the five-time Ballon d’Or winner completed 90 minutes was only one day ago and so Argentina are still hopeful that the returning captain will still be available.

One of Edgardo Bauza’s first acts as Argentina coach was to persuade Messi out of international retirement and so it would come as a blow if injury were to rule the 29-year-old out.

Agüero’s absence is more definite after the Manchester City striker didn’t travel with his teammates Pablo Zabaleta and Nicolás Otamendi on Sunday.

The former Independiente striker has reportedly informed Bauza that he will not be joining up with the squad but it isn’t clear if Argentina will name a replacement given the options already within the 27-man squad.

Chances of Paulo Dybala starting appear to be increasing but with Lucas Pratto and Lucas Alario also among the group, Bauza has alternatives in Agüero’s usual number nine role.

Additionally Javier Pastore missed Paris Saint-Germain’s surprise defeat to Monaco due to a calf injury and the midfielder is also doubtful.

Argentina begin training on Monday in Ezeiza ahead of Thursday’s clash with Uruguay in Mendoza.

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