Injured Messi out of World Cup qualifier

Messi said in June that he would not play for Argentina again after the team lost to Chile in the final of the Copa America

Messi said in June that he would not play for Argentina again after the team lost to Chile in the final of the Copa America

Lionel Messi will miss Argentina’s 2018 World Cup qualifier in Venezuela on Tuesday after injuring his groin in Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Uruguay.

The Barcelona forward scored on his return from international retirement to send Argentina top of the South America qualifying group.

Messi said after the game that his groin had been “hurting a lot”.

Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza said: “He won’t be able to play. We can’t take any risks. We must take care of him.”

After seven of the 18 qualifying games Argentina lead Uruguay, Colombia and Ecuador by one point with Brazil a point further back in fifth.

A top-four finish will secure automatic qualification for Russia 2018, with the fifth-placed side facing a two-legged play-off against a team from Oceania – New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands or Tahiti.