Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina scores a goal past Dainel Vaca #1 of Bolivia during their international friendly match at BBVA Compass Stadium on September 4, 2015 in Houston, Texas. Scott Halleran/Getty Images/AFP
Argentina captain Lionel Messi is battling to be fit for the Copa America Centenario opener against defending champions Chile on Monday.
The Barcelona forward trained alone as his fitness is a major concern cause for concern following an injury he picked up during a friendly last week.
The 29-year-old hobbled off the pitch in pain during his side’s 1-0 win over Honduras in San Juan after suffering rib and back contusions.
The five-time World Player of the Year could still play at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara as Argentina seek to end their 23-year wait for a major trophy.
“We’re hoping [Messi] is available for the game,” coach Gerardo Martino said in an interview with Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.
“His presence will be decided last minute, because the lumbar region is very delicate.
“He’s very eager to have a very good Copa and to win it. From the way I saw him, I shouldn’t be worried.”
However, Chile have lost four of their past five matches but manager Juan Antonio Pizzi remains calm about his team’s situation.
“I am calm, the goals will come,” Pizzi said following the defeat to Mexico, having dominated throughout. “There is a level that ensures players will succeed. We must continue to persevere.
“I have peace of mind about how we did things against Mexico. I am calm because the result does not reflect the development of the team.”