Lionel Messi will be ready for Copa America Centenario action with Argentina in four days, according to coach Gerardo Martino.
Speaking after his side’s 2-1 win over Chile in their tournament opener – a replay of last year’s final – Martino’s timeline for Messi’s return should put him in contention for Argentina’s match against Panama on June 10.
The 14-time champions got the job done without Messi at Levi’s Stadium and Martino may yet be tempted to rest him again against Panama – who defeated Bolivia 2-1 in their opening fixture.
However, he will be relieved to have the reigning Ballon d’Or winner available so soon in what is sure to be a massive boost to their hopes of success.
“The expectation is that in four days Messi is in a position to play,” Martino told reporters.
The 53-year-old coach was full of praise for his team’s performance as goals from Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega sealed the win.
“I liked the 90 minutes we played. We deserved to win,” Martino said.
“We must continue to overcome any absences in our team. The team knew how to handle different aspects of the game and we were fair winners.”