Lionel Scaloni has tested positive for covid-19 and was therefore unable to travel to Chile for Argentina’s CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier in Calama. Instead of a face-to-face press conference the coach fulfilled his media duties via zoom as per Mundo Deportivo.
Argentina are also missing Lionel Messi for their two fixtures. The former Barcelona man also tested positive for covid-19 over the Christmas period and chose to stay in France to ensure he recovered completely from the disease. Argentina, after all, have already secured their place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“It’s clear that we’d love for Messi to be here,” Scaloni said. “I chatted with him and he told me that covid-19 affected him a lot. It’s important that he gets well, and that’s why I decided that the best thing was for him to stay with his club.”
It was revealed that Juventus frontman Paulo Dybala will play the Messi role for the games against Chile and Colombia. Argentina will be keen to hit the ground running before heading for the Middle East. They beat Brazil in Rio de Janeiro to win the Copa America last summer but are six points behind their great rivals in CONMEBOL qualifying as things stand.
Given he’s 34, this is probably Messi’s last chance to win a World Cup with Argentina and replicated Diego Maradona’s famous triumph in Mexico back in 1986. He’ll be highly motivated.