Is Lionel Messi injured? Examining the fitness of the Argentine ahead of the showdown at 3000 meters above sea level

Lionel Messi is living the dream after winning the World Cup with Argentina last year. Since then, he has joined Inter Miami where he has taken the team to new heights and is also close to winning another Balon d’Or.

Messi is still running on the international stage, helping Argentina kick off the qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup. Hosting Ecuador, the Argentine captain scored a brilliant free kick to win the match 1-0, and thus start the team’s new journey. However, it seems that Messi has suffered a setback in the Ecuador game.

Lionel Messi asked to be subbed in Ecuador match

In the 89th minute, Messi was seen limping off the pitch, being substituted for Exequiel Palacios. As he was leaving the pitch, he received a standing ovation from the Argentine crowd. It was later revealed by manager Lionel Scaloni that he took him off due to an injury scare and that Messi himself asked to be substituted. He said, “Messi asked for a substitution, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken him off. Later we will evaluate what he has.”

Messi has already taken tests, and the results are yet to be made public. The injury scare has troubled fans and especially Inter Miami, who are helpless without him. He may have to miss some matches for the club if the injury is too serious. 

Argentina Vs Ecuador 1-0, Lionel Messi Shows Magical Touch Again

In an interview with Telemundo Deportes, the seven time Balon d’Or winner himself revealed the reason. He said, “I came out because I was a bit tired. It’s probably not the last time that will happen [being substituted in the last minutes of a game]. It’s all good, I’m fine.”

In hindsight, Messi is probably correct as he is already 36 years old and has been playing many games in recent days. He previously revealed that he may not be in the Argentina team for much longer.

Bolivia’s infamous Estadio Hernando Siles hosts Messi’s Argentina next

Argentina now have to face Bolivia for their second and final match of the international break. The game will take place in the infamous Estadio Hernando Siles stadium in Bolivia. The stadium is infamous due it being 3000 miles above sea level, which makes it the stadium with the highest altitude in the world.

Panoramic view of the Hernando Siles stadium, situated at 3600m altitude in La Paz, on May 30, 2007. (Photo: Getty Images)

The teams that come to face Bolivia there usually have trouble. As they are adjusted with the high altitude, they face breathing issues which make it hard for them to play. Argentina may be world champions, but even they will struggle to perform there as proved many times before. In a similar matchup in 2010, Argentina suffered their worst loss, in a 6-1 game.

Lionel Messi may yet defy the odds to help his team play in the difficult fixture against Bolivia, though resting him would be better. It remains to be seen whether he does play in the match on Wednesday.

Fazal Al Bashar

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Fazal is a passionate soccer aficionado, who when not discovering the latest soccer stories and rumors, indulges in playing FIFA all night. While he sucks at the sport, he knows the who and what in all things soccer-related.


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