Lionel Messi will miss Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Venezuela after aggravating a groin problem, national team coach Edgardo Bauza has confirmed.
Messi ended his short-lived international retirement to score the only goal in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Uruguay in Bauza’s first game at the helm, sending Argentina to the top of the CONMEBOL qualifying section.
But he will be unavailable next time out after an existing fitness issue flared up.
“Leo is in pain, unfortunately he will not be able to play the next game ,” Bauza said.
“He has an inflammation and we cannot take risks. We were talking with him, with the doctor, and it is advisable to rest.
“Tomorrow will be with the group, but will not participate in the next match.”
Messi is then likely to head back to Barcelona and battle to be fit for a LaLiga clash with Deportivo Alaves on September 10.
“I do not think he will travel [to Venezuela] because [the injury] is delicate and must be looked after,” the coach added.
Bauza neglected to include Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain in his squad and saw Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero withdraw due to a calf injury.
Higuain’s club-mate Pablo Dybala was sent off during the Uruguay match, leaving Argentina somewhat short in attack against Venezuela, who have picked up a solitary point from their seven qualifiers so far.
Angel Correa, Lucas Pratto and Lucas Alario are the remaining forward options in Bauza’s squad and have just six international caps between them.