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Messi will play first Copa América match on Friday

Copa América Centenario: Messi declared fit to play by Argentina's coach

June 9, 2016 By Oscar Rojas
The Argentine footballer was forced to watch the game against Chile from the bench after picking up an injury during La Albiceleste's last friendly game.

Once again, Lionel Messi is ready to play for Argentina, where he will try to win the first major trophy for La Albiceleste in 23 years.

After sitting out the first match of the Copa América Centenario, Lionel Messi has been allowed to play by the team's medical staff. In the pre-match press conference held on Thursday, coach Gerardo Martino revealed that not only will Messi be available to play, but he will be doing so from the beginnning of the game.

"He didn't show signs of pain after two full training sessions with the team. We don't see any reason why he shouldn't play. The doctor's said he's fine, and he will start the game against Panamá," Martino stated.

Messi's performance in the tournament was jeopardized by an untimely injury. During Argentina's last warmup game against Honduras, Barcelona's ace left the pitch due to lower back pain. Furthermore, the Argentine ace had to travel back to Spain, where he had to appear in front of a court of law investigating an alleged tax evasion scheme plotted by his father and his former agents.

In fact, that trip back to Spain prevented him from being fully fit for Monday's match, according to Martino.

"He needed time to rest. After traveliing back to Spain, we felt he wasn't loose enough to play against Chile, so we decided not to risk him. Now, we believe he can play the whole 90 minutes,"the coach concluded.

Messi is six goals away from becoming the team's all-time top scorer, but he is yet to win his first piece of silverware with La Albiceleste in his twelve years as an international.

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