Messi returns as Argentina beat Ecuador

Lionel Messi playing for Argentina

Lionel Messi played his first international for almost seven months as Argentina warmed up for the Copa America with a 1-0 win over Ecuador in Chicago.

The Inter Miami forward, who missed two Argentina friendlies in March with a hamstring injury, came on as a 56th-minute substitute for Angel di Maria at Soldier Field.

Di Maria, captaining the side in Messi’s absence, scored in the 40th minute after a superb pass from Tottenham defender Cristian Romero.

“With Leo, there is no need to risk him,” said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni.

“We want to take care of these players and allow them to arrive in their best possible conditions to the tournament.”

World champions Argentina face Guatemala in another friendly in Maryland on Saturday before they begin their Copa America defence against Canada on 21 June.


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