Tata Martino has confirmed that Lionel Messi will miss Argentina’s Copa America opener against Chile, although Nicolas Gaitan will be “the ideal substitute”.
AS reports Messi is still feeling pain in his lower back, a chance Martino is not prepared to take, so Gaitan will replace the Barcelona star on the right of Argentina’s attack alongside Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria, in a rematch of last year’s final.
“I don’t expect him to be just like Leo, but I hope he’s more similar to him than ever before because he’s able to do very well,” the Coach said of the Atletico Madrid target at a Press conference.
“Nico is good at taking his man on and creating play. He’s very complete, so today he’s the ideal substitute for Leo.
Messi, meanwhile, granted Mundo Deportivo a media opportunity before he flew to the United States on Sunday and told the newspaper: “This Copa America is a very special tournament for me after losing the final last year, so I want to win it for Argentina.”