Lionel Messi Exploited A Clever Loophole To Be On The Bench For Argentina Despite Being Excluded From The Squad

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Rodrigo De Paul with Leo Messi on the bench against Bolivia. (Credit: Twitter)

Rodrigo De Paul with Leo Messi on the bench against Bolivia. (Credit: Twitter)

It is believed that Messi had raised concerns over being fatigued and hence requested to be rested for the fixture against Bolivia that was set to happen at the Hernando Siles Stadium in La Paz, 3637 meters above sea level.

Leo Messi isn’t usually one to miss games or pull tricks to do so. But, after all, desperate times call for desperate measures. And it was a smart measure Leo took which assured him some rest whilst being able to be around for his team recently indeed.

The Argentine skipper recently sat out during Argentina’s World Cup qualifier 3-0 win against Bolivia, after asking to be substituted in the 89th minute of the previous game against Ecuador where Messi scored a sublime free-kick to secure the win.

According to some sources Messi has a minor injury in his feet, that was the main reason he didn’t play against Bolivia although he wanted to.It’s hard to say whether he will play against Atlanta United or not, we have to wait until #InterMiamiCF confirms about his fitness pic.twitter.com/kZJOE43Jjq

— VizoR (@Vizor_710) September 14, 2023

It is believed that Messi had raised concerns over being fatigued and hence requested to be rested for the fixture against Bolivia that was set to happen at the Hernando Siles Stadium in La Paz, 3637 meters above sea level.

READ: South American FIFA World Cup Qualifying: Argentina Beat Bolivia, Brazil Edge Out Peru

Given Messi’s fatigue, and the fact that every other player had to be handed personal oxygen tanks to prepare for the high altitude, Messi did not want to risk it. He had already taken a knock during his game with Ecuador and ‘felt something’, so pushing himself to another game in these conditions was not a viable option.

But, Messi still wanted to travel with his team and be as close as possible to the action to lead them vicariously. And in any other circumstances, he would have been required to watch from the stands as an onlooker, but there was he, on the bench with the likes of Enzo Fernandez, Nicolas Tagliafico and Nicolas Gonzalez. So, how did he pull it off? Well, how could the assistant coach of the team not be in the bench?

Argentina reportedly took advantage of a FIFA loophole that allowed Lionel Messi to sit on their bench despite not being a substitute against Bolivia.

Lionel Messi was officially registered with FIFA as an Assistant Coach in the game against Bolivia [Mundo Deportivo]Do you see Messi being a coach one day? pic.twitter.com/IwqRmv2cO1

— Mehhhssi (@Mehhhssi) September 14, 2023

In order to get over the restrictions, TNT Sports Argentina reported that Messi had filled a form saying that he as an assistant coach, which was signed off by FIFA, thereby granting him special permission to take his seat at the bench.

As a result, Messi was able to take a seat alongside his teammates and coach Lionel Scaloni, albeit not being a part of the squad for the fixture.

Nicolas Tagliafico said of seeing Messi stick around: “That’s a bit of leadership too. He knew he wasn’t going to play, he wanted to be there, he wanted to accompany us and that shows what he is.”

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