Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi is reportedly likely to miss the international friendly against Jamaica at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey tonight at 7:00 Jamaica time.
According to reports, the forward could miss the match in New York City, with Manchester City’s 22-year-old forward Julian Alvarez coming in to replace him.
Messi’s absence is believed to be related to an illness rather than an injury.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has been in great form recently for Argentina, scoring eight goals in his last four matches.
On Friday, he scored a brace against Honduras in Argentina’s 3-0 win, bringing his international tally to 88 goals.
The Reggae Boyz match is the last test for Argentina before the long-awaited Qatar 2022 World Cup gets underway.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held between November 20 and December 18 and Argentina are in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland.
Jamaica will not be in the tournament.
Argentina have won the FIFA World Cup twice; at Argentina 1978 and Mexico 1986 editions.
Argentina have also been runners-up at the FIFA World Cup three times; at Uruguay 1930, Italia 1990, and Brazil 2014 editions.
The Argentina squad includes the gifted quartet of Paulo Dybala, Angel Di Maria, Nicolas Gonzalez, and Lautaro Martinez.
The match will be the first for new Reggae Boyz head coach Iceland’s Heimir Hallgr?msson, who was hired on September 17.
Hallgrimsson, who guided Iceland to FIFA World Cup qualification in 2018, signed a four-year deal with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), which take him through the next FIFA World Cup qualifying cycle.
Hallgr?msson, 55, was on the coaching staff of Iceland’s national team from 2013-18. A former defender, he coached Qatar’s Al-Arabi from 2018-21.
During a pre-game press conference on Monday, Hallgr?msson told journalists that the Reggae Boyz need to adapt to what Argentina will be doing on the field.
“The tactics we want to do, it is not solely in our hands, said Hallgr?msson. We have to adapt to what Argentina is doing. They will have a majority of possession, they will high press. So we can kind of predict how the game will be played. But first and foremost to play a team like Argentina, we have to play with power, play as a unit. That is a must if you want to get a result.”