As the 2024 Copa America approaches, Argentina is preparing to unleash Lionel Messi in their quest to defend their continental title, reported by GOAL. The Albiceleste have been carefully managing their captain’s workload to ensure he is at peak fitness for the tournament.

After a six-month absence from international duty due to injury problems at MLS side Inter Miami, Messi has made a triumphant return to the Argentine squad. His absence in March raised concerns, but now he is fully integrated back into the team. Argentina has been cautious, using him sparingly in friendlies to avoid any risk to his fitness.

In a recent friendly against Ecuador, Messi was used as a substitute in a 1-0 victory. This cautious approach highlights the team's strategy to build up his game time gradually. The goal is to have him fully fit and ready to lead the team in competitive matches. Argentina’s head coach, Lionel Scaloni, confirmed that Messi will start in their next game against Guatemala.

Scaloni’s plan for Lionel Messi

Scaloni outlined his plans for Messi, saying: “Leo is going to play from the start. The other day it was decided that he play a few minutes, and we had already talked about him playing. Based on how he is, we will see the amount. If he can play everything, even better. We expect the same from him as always: that he plays football, that he associates with his teammates, and that he be himself. On the field, in the end, what we need is that he is comfortable, that he is comfortable with the team that we put out.”

Argentina’s cautious approach is a strategic move to ensure Messi’s long-term fitness. With the Copa America around the corner, it’s crucial that their star player is in top form. Messi's presence on the field not only boosts the team's morale but also intimidates opponents. His ability to change the course of a game with a moment of brilliance is unmatched, and Argentina will be relying heavily on his skills.

Argentina will finalize their 26-man Copa America squad after their last warm-up game against Guatemala. This match will be critical in assessing the team's readiness and finalizing tactics. Messi’s performance in this game will be closely watched, as it will provide a clear indication of his form and fitness.

Argentina will kick off their Copa America campaign against Canada on June 20. The team aims to start strong and set the tone for the rest of the tournament. With Messi leading the charge, fans and analysts alike have high expectations for the Albiceleste.

Lionel Messi’s influence

Messi’s influence on the team cannot be overstated. His leadership on and off the field has been instrumental in Argentina's recent successes. The Copa America will be another opportunity for him to showcase his talent and possibly add another trophy to his illustrious career.

As the Copa America looms, Argentina’s meticulous management of Messi’s workload reflects their commitment to success. Ensuring that their captain is fit and ready is paramount to their hopes of defending their title. With Messi back in the fold and set to start against Guatemala, the stage is set for another thrilling chapter in his storied career. Fans around the world will be eagerly watching as Messi and Argentina embark on their journey to Copa America glory.