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Argentina Without Messi in Friendlies: Problem or Opportunity?

It’s a special situation, not unprecedented, but it presents a chance to evaluate options and perhaps even change the scheme. The Argentina national team will play a double round of friendlies against El Salvador and Costa Rica without Lionel Messi, their captain, emblem, and star player. Is this a problem for Lionel Scaloni’s team or an opportunity?

Due to a hamstring injury in his right leg, the Inter Miami star will not be present with the Albiceleste, the world champions who will be playing these two friendlies in the United States.

Thus, the Albiceleste’s star will miss both matches led by Scaloni, this Friday against El Salvador and on Tuesday, March 26, against Costa Rica.

The second encounter in history between Argentina and El Salvador, in March 2015, during another friendly in the United States, was one of the matches Messi did not play in due to discomfort in his right foot. This time, he was not called up due to the physical issue and will have to watch from the sidelines.

Messi’s absence from the Albiceleste undoubtedly provides an opportunity for some teammates. That’s what it represents, more than a concrete problem for the coach, especially against opponents that are not top-tier.

In these matches on American soil, Scaloni will have the chance to test options to replace Messi. Unfortunately, Paulo Dybala of Roma, who would have been a prime candidate, also suffered a right adductor injury and will not be part of the squad. Dybala, a left-footed player, typically serves as a substitute in the Albiceleste and occupies a similar position to Messi’s No. 10.

Therefore, Scaloni could even make a change in the scheme of the Argentine national team. This could serve to test some names in preparation for the Copa America, set to be held mid-year in the United States, which is the next big event for the Albiceleste.

Messi’s last absences were recorded during World Cup qualifiers in Bolivia, a friendly against Indonesia, and another match on the road to Qatar. Now, it’s time for the coach to analyze with his technical team and make the adjustments they deem most appropriate for the team’s optimal performance. Facing matches without Messi is not common, but it has become more frequent due to some of the star’s physical issues.

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