Lionel Messi will lose one of his best lieutenants as Argentina set out to conquer the World Cup in Qatar. Mundo Deportivo have confirmed that Giovani Lo Celso will miss the tournament.
The 26-year-old Villarreal playmaker suffered a slight muscle tear against Athletic Club less than two weeks ago and it had been hoped that with conservative treatment, he would be able to make it. However he will not need to undergo surgery and thus will miss the tournament.
It’s heavy blow for Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni, who has relied on Lo Celso as a starter in midfield. He was Argentina’s leading assist provider in World Cup qualification and was linking up with Messi well.
If there is one bonus for Argentina, it might be the form for Enzo Fernandez at Benfica. The 21-year-old has taken European football by storm since arriving from River Plate in the summer. He is a major part of the reason Benfica topped their Champions League group against Paris Saint-Germain and may be a candidate to replace Lo Celso.