Superstar Argentinian forward Lionel Messi and six other players have been noticeably absent from Argentina’s field training camp at Qatar University.
On Friday, two days after Argentinian footballers Joaquin Correa and Nicolas Gonzalez were sent home due to injuries, head coach Lionel Scaloni appears to be not taking any chances with additional losses and is cocooning star players as a precautionary measure day ahead of the World Cup opening.
Team captain Messi and four other Argentinian national team starters, including midfielders Rodrigo De Paul and Leandro Paredes, defender Nicolas Otamendi and forward Angel di Maria trained separately from the rest of the team and stayed in the gym on Friday, according to the Argentine Football Association (AFA).
Two other Argentinian defenders, Lisandro Martinez and Juan Foyth, also skipped Friday’s training camp. The team did not stipulate the exact reasons behind the move, however, such injury-prevention techniques are common practice.
La Albiceleste are riding high heading into the 2022 World Cup on the heels of a 35-match win streak.
Argentina is slated to play Saudi Arabia on November 22. They also face Mexico on November 26 and Poland on November 30.
“Will Leo Messi take a match ball home along with the #FIFAWorldCup?” Messi mused in a tweet on Friday.
— Leo Messi 🔟 (@WeAreMessi) November 18, 2022
Teammate Otamendi also tweeted a series of photos documenting the team’s Doha training sessions, captioning a November 18 post, “we continue”.
He used the hashtag #Qatar2022 in another post showing a Team Argentina gym training session.
— Nicolas Otamendi (@Notamendi30) November 17, 2022