2024 Copa América: Argentina to rest injured Lionel Messi for final group match vs. Peru

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 25: Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina controls the ball during the first half of the CONMEBOL Copa America Group stage game against Chile on June 25, 2024 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi controls the ball during the first half of the CONMEBOL Copa America Group stage game against Chile on June 25, 2024 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi will not play for Argentina during their final Copa América group stage match against Peru on Saturday in Miami.

The Argentina star was ruled out after suffering a right thigh injury during their 1-0 win over Chile on Tuesday night. Messi was seen getting treatment on the sideline in the first half and also disclosed after the game he was dealing with right hamstring discomfort.

“I started the game playing with discomfort, I wasn’t completely loose,” Messi said. “I didn’t feel a sharp pain or anything like that, but it did get stiff. It was hard for me to move freely, and it was a bit uncomfortable.”

Messi, who turned 37 on Monday, has played all 180 minutes during Argentina’s two wins, putting them atop Group A and already through to the knockout portion of the tournament.

He did not take part in Argentina’s training session on Thursday and head coach Lionel Scaloni already said after the Chile match that changes were in order for his lineup against Peru.

“We are satisfied, and we can enjoy the days, and give the youngest ones minutes,” Scaloni said. “I think it’s fair to have the players that did not have minutes get onto the pitch.”

Canada plays Chile in the other Group A match on Saturday.

Should Argentina, as expected, hold on to the top spot in the group, they will move on to face the second-place team in Group B, which could be any of Venezuela, Ecuador, Mexico, or Jamaica depending on how their results go on Sunday.

CONMEBOL’s disciplinary commission has suspended the Argentina manager one match due to the team’s lateness returning to the field for the second half in both of their group stage games.

“If the players of a team appear on the field later than the scheduled time for the start or resumption of the game, or disobey the referee’s or match delegate’s instructions, the responsible association may be sanctioned by CONMEBOL’s disciplinary bodies with a warning for a first offense and a fine for second or subsequent offenses,” according to CONMEBOL.

Scaloni will also not be permitted to speak to the press after Saturday’s match against Peru.

Copa América rules state that players must return to the field promptly after halftime. Argentina had already been warned once after their opening match against Canada.