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Is Lionel Messi injured or just rested? Inter Miami star doesn’t even make Argentina bench for World Cup qualification clash against Bolivia

WHAT HAPPENED? The Inter Miami hero was left out of the starting XI and was not named on the bench as the world champions fielded an attack of Julian Alvarez, Angel Di Maria and Nico Gonzalez instead.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi started the Albiceleste’s 1-0 win against Ecuador on Friday, scoring the decisive goal after 78 minutes. His absence from the clash against Bolivia was predicted by former goalkeeper Jose Carlos Fernandez, who believes the superstar struggles physically and mentally in La Paz. He was part of the team that lost 6-1 to Bolivia in 2009 and the forward vomited during a match against them four years later.


WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? The attacker may return to MLS action with Inter Miami when they take on Atlanta United on Saturday. However, there were suggestion that Messi might have suffered a minor injury in the Ecuador victory, as he exited the field early in that contest.