Messi to play for Argentina as Martino looks to confirm top spot


Argentina coach Gerardo Martino confirmed Lionel Messi will play against Bolivia as the Barcelona star continues his road to recovery. 

Messi played his first minutes of the Copa America Centenario against Panama on Friday, scoring a hat-trick off the bench in their 5-0 win.

The win saw Argentina book their spot in the quarter-finals of the tournament, but Martino wants to make sure they secure top spot in Group D. 

"Leo will play," the 53-year-old confirmed as they prepare to face Bolivia at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Tuesday.

"There is a schedule that we want to keep him on going forward so that he feels good. We are going to do it in this way.

"But yes, Messi will begin to start games when we are at the latter stages of the tournament."

However, Martino admits he holds fears about losing players to injury in what could prove to be just a dead rubber, hinging on the result of Chile against Panama earlier in the day. 

"I wish we could know what's going to happen [in the game between Chile and Panama] before we make the team," he said.

"But we have to make a decision [on the starting XI] before knowing what happens before us.

"There are a lot of risks."